Formally a mainstream mortgage broker, Plymouth-based Ocean Mortgages began running as later life lending adviser around two years ago and managing director Stuart Powell says equity release now accounts for close to 100 per cent of the firm’s business.
The pair of firms will split the referrals according to the size of the business. Ocean will serve firms with three advisers or less and Responsible Life, also based in Plymouth, will support the larger brokerages.
Since the partnership was struck in January, seven firms have started to submit their later life lending business to Ocean Mortgages. Responsible Life has registered two large firms with 60 advisers.
Support for homeowners
“We’ve been growing as an equity release specialist for three years now and have doubled the amount of business we are writing over that time,” said Powell.
“We’ve found that homeowners are intrigued by the possibilities of modern equity release plans so we have set our business up as an educational brand.”
To support advisers and consumers with their equity release enquiries, Ocean has set up two Facebook groups. Launched last summer, the adviser group, Later Life Advisors Hub has close to 400 members and the client version, Equity Release Questions Answered is nearing 100 members.
To assist homeowners with their own research, Powell has created an equity release calculator that does not require the user to input their personal details. Users can get an approximate idea of how much they can borrow without having their personal information sold on to a lead generator company. However, to discuss rates borrowers must give Ocean a contact number for an adviser to speak to them.
Matthew Arena, managing director of Brilliant Solutions, said: “Demand for later life lending has certainly increased. We already worked with a full range of equity release lenders to complement our existing lender panel but we recognised that many brokers are unable or reluctant to advise in this area.
“Having supported Ocean and Responsible with their term lending products we know their reputation in the equity release sector is second to none. It was a natural partnership that delivered low fees and great service. Our mutual desire to expand this sector and make it a core component of every adviser’s offering has enabled us to deliver an exclusive referral proposition that also offers brokers enhanced and transparent commissions too.
“We have seen a huge amount of interest from brokers in our mortgage club services and our referral arrangement.”