Equity release lender, more2life, has today revealed research showing that 75% of advisers said there was a need for greater education and additional resources in the market to provide practical guidance on how to recognise and deal with vulnerable clients. This is a slight decrease compared with last year (88%) which suggests that the adviser community is making use of the increased support provided by lenders and other bodies.
With vulnerability firmly on the agenda for the financial services industry and the FCA launching a consultation on its proposed guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers, advisers are more focused on this issue than ever before. Indeed, just under 100% of respondents said that it is important to be aware and have an understanding of these issues when dealing with equity release clients.
That said, nearly 9 out of 10 advisers (87%) admitted that it was difficult to spot vulnerable customers – potentially due to the fact that vulnerability is not a consistent state and can take a variety of different forms. When asked what proportion of their client bank was vulnerable, 81% felt that less than a fifth fitted into this category which was a slight uplift from last year (74%) and supports the idea that engagement is growing within this community.
However more needs to be done to support advisers and more2life is calling on the wider lending market to raise awareness among advisers of the signs of vulnerability and to provide greater education and resources for advisers to better help these customers.
Dave Harris, Chief Executive Officer at more2life, commented:
“Vulnerability continues to be an important issue across the entire financial services sector and this research highlights that the equity release market is no exception. It’s clear that advisers need more support and education to help them identify and serve vulnerable customers to ensure that they provide the right financial outcomes for their situation.
“As an industry, we need to work together to give advisers the skills and confidence to recognise signs of vulnerability, and to communicate with clients and manage their requirements effectively. As the UK’s population ages and a greater number of older homeowners turn towards equity release as a source of income, advisers will be in a vital position to ensure they are able to help all consumers through the advice process and meet their needs in later life, including those who may be potentially vulnerable.
“On the more2life website, we currently house a range of resources to help advisers with vulnerable clients, including a webinar* with mental capacity expert, Tim Farmer, as well as our information available through our Lending Lab which includes further support for advisers on the area.”
Notes for Editors:
For more information, to arrange an interview, contact:
Taneesha Pawar, Eve Frayling
+44 (0)203 404 7700
Director of Public Relations and Public Affairs
E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]
210 Equity Release Advisers were surveyed in June 2019 to accertain their views on vulnerability and the role of family in the advice process.
Part of Key Group, more2life is one of the UK’s three largest equity release lenders with lending reaching more than £2 billion in 2018. They offer a range of innovative equity release products with features that are tailored to help customers access their housing equity in a way which is best suited to their individual circumstances.
Constantly pushing for the later life market to evolve, more2life believes that a strong vibrant adviser community is vital to growing the sector and ensuring more older customers can access their equity in a safe sustainable manner.
A committed advice advocate, more2life supports advisers with a range of tools, on demand webinars and technological advancements focused on helping them to better service the evolving needs of their clients.