Equity release has been the perennial “next big thing” for some time – when and how will it reach the heights many have so often predicted?
I believe it will reach the heights predicted, but won’t happen overnight or on its own. For it to happen we have to see a number of changes around communication to the consumer, product innovation (removing some of the constraints that we have put on ourselves) andmore providers and distributors coming into market.
There also needs to be a realisation that equity release is a retirement planning tool and not a last resort solution. I expect that the pace of growth we have seen in 2013 will continue in 2014 and beyond, and as property values increase and more of the baby boomer generation enter retirement, the solutions that equity release offer will become more of an accepted and widely used solution.
What is the general public’s awareness of equity release? How can we improve this?
The growth in the market suggests awareness is improving. However the loss of the consumer marketing that Prudential and Aviva brought to the industry, has impacted on it becoming an everyday product. To improve this we need to take it to the masses, through TV advertising, and positive press, and if another high street brand came to market (such as a bank or building society) this would escalate the awareness by bringing it to the high street and therefore the masses. The work that the Equity Release Council has done in lobbying the government agencies is helping but now need to use these positive messages directly with the consumer.
Are brokers sceptical about selling equity release? If so how can we overcome this?
Some mainstream brokers do see this as a specialised field, and many of the recent regulatory changes has encouraged brokers to specialise either in this field or in other financial service areas. But the support that exists within the clubs and networks, supported by the lenders, means it is now even easier to engage in the market and should be continued to be encouraged and developed.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.
how would described yourself in five words?
Open, honest, pragmatic, optimistic and trusting.
If someone was to make a film about your life, who would you choose to play you?
Richard Gere (we have so much in common!).
Do you have any secret talents?
I am an accomplished drummer and have played since I was five years old, mostly as a rock musician in my adult years. I never miss an opportunity to play live.