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Be prepared for a more complex later life lending landscape – Wilson

by: Stuart Wilson, chairman of Air Club
  • 23/10/2023
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Be prepared for a more complex later life lending landscape – Wilson
The later life lending space has always come with an added degree of complexity because of the nature of the borrowers advisers deal with and their financial situation.

Also, the fact – for the most part – that these tend to be specialist products, plus the older borrower demographic, what they intend to use the money for, and the properties they are releasing equity from or mortgaging. 

However, even within that more complex picture, historically at least, you would have a pretty significant percentage of what I would call ‘standard’ cases.  

That is, your more ‘vanilla’ cases where there would be standard income to focus on, standard numbers in terms of the property value, a standard value home at the centrepiece, and this would in turn, allow the adviser to have a varied and pretty full number of product options from later life lenders and providers to recommend.  


A notable change 

Yet, while those cases do of course still exist, the feedback we are hearing, and the evidence of the market as it currently stands, is that we’ve seen something of a paradigm shift for those active in the later life lending advice space. 

From what would be a high degree of standard cases to focus on, we now find a far greater array of complex cases. That results in a greater level of work required, research, understanding and a new set of challenges when dealing with these clients. 

So, for example, this means advisers are increasingly taking the sourcing of product options and the placing of cases away from any initial look at rates and pricing – which might be the case for more ‘standard’ cases – to one focused on lender criteria and effectively looking to see which lenders will actually accept the case.  

By doing this, advisers are effectively seeking the lender that has the criteria to make the case acceptable right from the outset. And, with these more complex cases and in a more turbulent market right now, that could mean, at best, a handful of options, but more likely, just one or two.  


Importance of criteria 

It’s therefore not a product-first market, but a criteria-first one, which is why it’s been so important for us within Air Sourcing to have the full API integration with Knowledge Bank, which allows the adviser to look at the criteria first. To see whether the lender will consider an annexe, or a small holding, or whatever might be non-standard about the property, etc. 

That allows the adviser to tailor the search, to then be able to drill down into those lenders who will accept such a case, and at that point the adviser will be able to speak directly to that lender, or indeed use a service like we offer at Air where we can conduct that work on behalf of the adviser, ensuring they don’t have to make multiple calls or contacts to lenders.  

My view is that any distributor/club worth its salt needs to have a large, experienced helpdesk available to support its members, particularly when the layer of complexity is growing.  


Adapting to the market

What is also important in this ‘new’ landscape is having those nuggets of criteria information from the outset. To be aware of which lenders offer those criteria complexities because again, knowing this at the start, can cut down on the workload, and immediately gives you a path to start along.  

As we move forward, and particularly while we face the challenges that the current market presents to us, it is likely to be those increasingly complex cases that come across the desks of advisers more and more.  

There’s no doubting that keeping a handle on every single aspect of a lender’s criteria is tricky, however by utilising the tools available – both online, through sourcing, and webinars, etc. – it is possible to have a strong overview of where lenders will go, and where some lenders will not tread. 

That is so helpful in terms of giving clients the quality service they are seeking, and ultimately towards delivering a positive outcome which provides them with the finance they need.  

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