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Comment: Release that pen and get tech savvy

Andrea Rozario 2015

Adopting technology wherever possible will free up equity release advisers to focus on what really matters: clients

When it comes to equity release and technology, there is a lot of room for improvement; pen and paper still rule the roost in the lifetime mortgage market. But while many advisers and clients are more than happy to remain ‘old school’, the tide is definitely turning.

It is understandable that we have kept things basic. After all, most of our customers are aged over 70 and probably not the most tech savvy.

But if we are to help equity release reach the heights it can, we should be looking to embrace technology. I am not saying we should leave our pens at home for good but a gradual adoption of the advances now widespread in the mainstream mortgage market would benefit everyone.

Technology can eliminate human error from the tedious tasks such as admin through to essential compliance issues, so embracing it wherever possible will free up advisers to focus on what really matters: clients.

The application process, for example, is an area we could easily computerise, improving and speeding it up. Having an online system to call upon would make this often clunky process far more efficient. Ultimately, however, every area of equity release needs to think about technology.

Some may claim that such improvements are unnecessary but we have to take the long view. The elderly population will only increase and, as it swells, more pensioners will become technologically adept.

As an industry we need to acknowledge that, even if the pen is mightier than the sword, the computer is king.

Andrea Rozario is chief corporate officer at Bower Retirement Services

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