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LLLE2022: Later life sector must break down silos to avoid complaints – Wilson

  • 31/01/2022
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LLLE2022: Later life sector must break down silos to avoid complaints – Wilson
The later life mortgage sector should break down silos to prevent complaints around borrowers being pushed towards certain products.


Speaking at the Later Life Lending Event on 27 January, Stuart Wilson (pictured), chief executive of Air Group said the industry was currently one of the “lowest complained about” with the Financial Ombudsman. 

However, he said borrowers needed to be presented with all of the potentially suitable options for their circumstances to avoid being seen as only focused on a small scope of products.

Wilson said: “We must break the silos down together. This is a consumer-centric industry. The older consumer demographic might well have vulnerabilities but that does not make them vulnerable. 

“They sit and they read, and they digest, and they ask questions. But we must as a sector make sure that we give them all of the potential answers to their issues and problems.” 

He added: “We cannot continue to think in one product-centric area. Because there will be complaints that will come at us later on, if they can be evidenced.” 

Wilson said this had been referenced by the Financial Conduct Authority in its 2020 review of the equity release sector. 

The review was released in June 2020 and said firms need to “be able to evidence how they came to the conclusion that the product was suitable”.  

It also said there were good outcomes for customers who had been advised to take an equity release product but noted that there were poor outcomes for those who were given unsuitable advice. 


Securing PI cover 

Pointing to the increasingly positive perception of equity release and the later life market, Wilson said it was also time to convince professional indemnity (PI) insurers that the sector was not risky and ensure firms obtain the right cover. 

He said: “This is something that we’re working closely with the [Equity Release] council on. It’s starting to affect some of you in the room, if you’re directly authorised you have to work closely with PI insurers to make sure they understand the risk and understand that it’s low. 

“At the moment, they’re having a little bit of a panic attack and many of you have contacted us to say premiums are rising or being declined so we need to address that issue.” 

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