Innovation in later-life lending, plans to engage with the wider intermediary market and wishful thinking about the prospects of the England football team
Hodge Lifetime has just launched a product for the mainstream residential market. What is the thinking behind it and why now?
The later-life lending sector will continue to grow and, while we were certain that equity release would remain an important solution for many people, we thought it timely to offer a product for those older borrowers who could pass an affordability assessment.
Our 55+ product gives advisers and customers the opportunity to look at a broader range of options. Greater product choice can be only a good thing to ensure older borrowers get the right outcome.
Historically, there has been a distribution gap between equity release and mainstream, and we expect this to blur over time for the benefit of customers and advisers.
Having recently joined Hodge Lifetime, what are your plans for the coming 12 months and what can brokers expect from the firm?
While our equity release proposition and our key partners will remain core to our strategy, we have plans in place to roll out our 55+ proposition to mainstream mortgage distribution over the coming weeks and months.
As 55+ gains further traction, we are looking already at product transfers and retention proc fees. Hodge Lifetime now has what is probably the broadest range of product solutions to meet the needs of this customer segment and we expect borrowers to migrate through the range of products as their circumstances change.
As we engage with the wider intermediary market, we aim to maintain Hodge Lifetime’s position at the forefront of innovation for later-life lending.
Some in the equity release sector have recently called on the ERC to consider reforming its product standards. Do you agree?
There will always be a need for traditional equity release products with the associated benefits of the SHIP standards. Our Retirement Mortgage product has already shown that it is possible to innovate in this space by retaining some aspects of the standards where they provide a benefit.
What is key is that borrowers should be able to make an informed choice based on their circumstances, particularly if they feel they do not need the protection offered by the SHIP standards.
But this is not a decision to take lightly, given the range of factors that could affect people in later life but may not be obvious today.
When you were a child, what was your dream job?
I used to play quite a bit of football but, sadly, a lack of talent prohibited the dream from becoming a reality.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Never be afraid to make mistakes, as long as you are willing to learn from them.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
West Ham and England football captain and 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Moore is up there for me.
The chance of an England team winning any major tournament is something I can only dream of presently.
Do you have any secret talents?
Nothing spectacular, but I have managed to get my golf handicap down to 12 and would love to reduce it further to single digits. But family life at weekends may prevent that.
Year established: 1965
Address: 29 Windsor Place, Cardiff CF10 3BZ
Tel: 0800 731 4076
Hodge Lifetime has been a specialist in the retirement market for over 50 years. Our strategy is focused on the retirement lending and income markets. We offer one of the broadest ranges of retirement lending product, meaning we can offer the right product to suit almost any need.