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Later life lending in need of a ‘rebrand’, advisers say

  • 26/10/2021
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Later life lending in need of a ‘rebrand’, advisers say
The later life lending market needs to “rebrand” away from primarily focusing on equity release to a more “holistic” approach, advisers have said.


This was according to Air Mortgage Club’s first later life lending census, which surveyed over 400 advisers who are currently operating or want to operate in the later life market. It found 80 per cent of respondents wanted discussions around later life to move away from solely equity release.

Around 59 per cent said the market was already pivoting, whilst 41 per cent said that the market was still mainly focused on equity release.

Air Mortgage Club said more needs to be done to make other product solutions, such retirement interest-only products and standard residential mortgages with higher maximum borrowing age, as prominent as equity release.

The research found that 59 per cent of later life specialists were more likely to use ‘later life’ as a term when discussing options with clients, as opposed to 37 per cent of wider adviser community.

Air suggested this was as later life specialists had a wider understanding of range of options available in the sector.

The survey also found that 41 per cent of respondents only used the term ‘equity release’ when talking about borrowing at older ages with clients. Around five per cent used the phrase ‘retirement mortgages’, and 26 per cent described it as ‘later life lending’.

A further 15 per cent phrased products for older borrowers as ‘later life mortgages’ while six per cent tried to be more broad by describing it as ‘later life borrowing’ during the advice process.

Air Mortgage Club said that focusing on ‘later life lending’ or ‘later life borrowing’ to encompass the full range of options would be of benefit to advisers and customers.

Stuart Wilson (pictured), chief executive at Air Group which includes Air Mortgage Club, said: “One of the clear messages was around the need for a rebrand. While many in the industry are talking about ‘later life lending’ or ‘borrowing’ in a holistic sense, there is still a significant focus on equity release being the single product solution available.

“Clearly that’s not the case, and in recent times especially, those moving into, or already in, retirement have many more options available to them. However, the siloed nature of the sector means not all advisers are able to advise on all options, which again creates issues in terms of the outcomes that consumers get.”

He added that there was a need to look at later life lending as a whole, not just equity release, to open up the market further and secure the best options for advisers and customers.

He said the regulator may come up with a regulatory solution which is more later life lending focused as now consumer solutions may be “based on what the adviser can’t advise on, rather than what they can”.

Wilson said: “Advisers were also keen that we focused on re-educating consumers and the wider industry to the later life lending options available and re-engaging with stakeholders to support the growth of the market. Over the coming weeks, we will outline the key findings around these important ideas and delve into the research further.”

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