In your role, what is your relationship with mortgage intermediaries and how important are they to the success of the business?
Intermediaries are integral to More 2 Life, so our relationship with them is one of our highest priorities. They are important not only to us as a business but to the equity release market as a whole.
They play a crucial role in discussing equity release as part of retirement financial planning discussions with clients. With more and more people looking to access the wealth tied up in their property, advisers can guide clients to lenders and modern products to suit their requirements.
What can the market expect from More 2 Life this year?
2017 was an exciting year for us, with the business surpassing £1bn of lending since launch and expanding the range of features in our popular Capital Choice Plan.
With equity release lending activity growing rapidly, we are determined to continue to drive innovation, increase market share and build on our position among our competitors. We recognise the changing lifestyles and needs of borrowers and, as a result, will be looking to expand our current product offerings to meet these requirements, as well as work with advisers to ensure equity release is included as part of holistic retirement planning.
We are keen to explore ideas for future product development that will give customers the flexibility and features they require. As we look towards 2018, we are enthusiastic about what we have to bring to the market, through both our products and our strong relationships with advisers.
Figures for equity release borrowing have hit all-time highs. Do you foresee this continuing or have lending volumes plateaued?
It has been an exciting time for the equity release market. Lending into retirement is becoming the new normal in the UK market and this looks set to continue.
An increasing number of homeowners are entering retirement with outstanding mortgage balances and, for these customers, particularly those with an interest-only loan close to maturity, lifetime mortgages are a financial lifeline.
If there was one thing you could change about the industry, what would it be?
Historically, equity release often had negative connotations. While this image is beginning to change in the minds of borrowers, it would be fantastic to remove any remaining pessimism around equity release altogether.
The best way to achieve this is by raising awareness of equity release and highlighting the benefits of taking out a loan.
As a child, what was your dream job?
Making a difference around social injustices has been a passionate issue for me from a young age. Being an MP, or even prime minister, was my dream job, but that opportunity has probably long passed.
Do you have any secret talents?
My party trick is to hold a business card, credit card or playing card in the crease of my forehead. I can also do a selection of mind-reading magic tricks.
What is the best advice you have received?
One of our mottos at More 2 Life is to always have ‘big ears’. It’s really important to listen to what others have to say. You never know what you may learn along the way.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
During the Second World War, my grandfather survived 28 days in an open boat after his ship was sunk. He taught me that things will always work out if you are strong-minded and driven to achieve what’s important to you.
What is the toughest decision you have made?
I have never had to make a truly tough decision. Compared with previous generations I think we’ve had it relatively easy, which I have come to appreciate daily.
If you were chancellor for a day, what would you do?
Raise awareness of how property wealth can help people achieve a more comfortable retirement, and promote the need for older borrowers to consider this more thoroughly.
Year established: 2007
Headcount: Around 45
Address: More 2 Life, PO Box 1168, Preston PR2 0GB
Tel: 03454 150 150