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The equity release sector has proven its ability to survive – Carter

by: Paul Carter, chief executive at Pure Retirement
  • 22/05/2020
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The equity release sector has proven its ability to survive – Carter
After a headline-grabbing 2018, it’s safe to say that the equity release sector spent last year in a period of consolidation.

 

In scenes that we’re all currently too familiar with, underlying economic and political uncertainty led to many consumers deferring major financial decisions until they had a better picture of the direction the wider landscape was heading in, leading to the later life lending sector plateauing slightly after a year of considerable growth in 2018. 

It’s natural to draw parallels between this year’s market situation and last year’s, but using our previous experiences as a blueprint in terms of market reaction there’s a lot to be heartened about 

The uptick in activity in Q4 of 2019 carried over into Q1 of 2020.  

It demonstrates that even if the wider world goes through periods of instability and many consumers choose to defer interacting with the later life lending sector, there remains an appetite for these products and activity has historically picked up when consumer confidence returns. 

 

Adapting to challenges 

Both in the past and at present, we’ve seen continued market resilience.  

Ironically many of the regulatory safeguards put in place in previous years, such as mandated independent financial advice during the application process, have arguably contributed greatly to the market’s ability to continue trading while simultaneously putting the needs of customers first. 

Additionally – and perhaps more importantly – the market has remained committed to adapting and innovating to continue best serving its customer base, be it through process changes or technological and product innovation. 

Pure Retirement, like other lenders, were quick to respond to the need for new valuation solutions. As a result of a comprehensive effort by the wider team, we were able to embed desktop valuations across all of our ranges.  

And we continue to adapt in this respect, transitioning the valuation process again as the wider situation evolves.  

It’s also been gratifying to see the market come together in the interests of both advisers and customers through offering initiatives such as learning hubs for advisers and six-month rate guarantees for those needing full valuations.  

This demonstrates the sector’s commitment to ensuring that those who interact with it continue to have the best possible experience. 

The current landscape presents a unique challenge, but the equity release market has been consistently rising to the occasion.  

Allied to the rapid recovery, there’s good reason to be quietly confident of its future prospects. 

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