Pru introduces sales team for lifetime mortgages

Prudebtial will introduce a sales team for lifetime mortgages to visit clients at home from October 2006.

This new sales team complements Prus existing direct and adviser sales channels, providing the customer with the choice of how they wish to deal with it.

Initially, a team of 20 people will be recruited this year to visit prospective clients at home and offer specialist advice on Prus lifetime mortgage product.

Its expected that the number of advisers will rise further in 2007 subject to customer demand.

Pru says with an increasing number of people saying they will need to supplement their retirement income, and around 12.9 million people saying they will be relying on their property to do this, the market is set to grow.

Datamonitor forecasts that by 2020 the total amount of equity the current 50-60 year olds will have in their property will be around 1.43 trillion.

Recent figures from the UK equity release industry body, Safe Home Income Plans, also illustrate the growing popularity of equity release, with total value of new business written increasing to 262.8m in the first half of 20062.

Nick Prettejohn, chief executive for Prudential UK, says: This is an exciting time for the lifetime mortgage business.

More providers, greater innovation and more choice are all good news for customers: however, there is a genuine concern that access to expert face-to-face advice is increasingly difficult to find.

The FSA findings of its mystery shopping exercise announced in mid-July underline the importance of consumers getting the right advice.

We already provide extensive support for financial advisers to help educate them on the issues surrounding lifetime mortgages and this will continue.

We are also pleased to be sponsoring Key Retirements new Lifetime Advisory Service which will provide much needed adviser education and training on equity release and will be a key driver in increasing the number of competent advisers in the marketplace.

Our own research has shown, however, that face-to-face advice resonates strongly with customers.

Extending our commitment to allow customers access to qualified Prudential advisers who can visit and talk to people in their own home, at times and in surroundings they are comfortable with, is a logical progression for our business.

The addition of this new team is a welcome one as, in a small way, it revives the heritage of the the Man from the Pru and extends our ability to provide services in a way, and at a time, that suits our customers.

While theres no question well see a return to the size and scale of Prus previous direct sales force, I do expect to see it growing from the initial size of 20 during next year.