Women can excel in equity release

Andrea Rozario 2015

More female professionals are needed throughout financial services but equity release is one niche where they should excel

The equity release market is on the up again. According to the Equity Release Council, the second half of 2015 saw the most lending activity in the market for seven years.

But that is no surprise. As other industry commentators and I have been claiming for some years, increased lending activity to those in later life is clearly going to continue in one form or another.

It is quite simple: increasing life expectancy means more people aged 55 and over will be around
in the near future; and growing house prices mean there will be more equity to release. Throw in a little baby-boomer liberalism and lending is sure to go on growing.

However, despite this good news there is a puzzling problem: the industry is still struggling to attract new advisers – more specifically, female advisers.

More female professionals are needed throughout financial services but equity release is one niche where they should excel. Often, the allure of financial services is dimmed by the seemingly inflexible working hours of much of the industry.

But the equity release sector is characterised by rather flexible working hours. This benefit enables advisers to thrive while also raising a family – something women often believe can hinder their career progression in other professions.

What is more, the customers we serve in the equity release industry are the type who warm more to soft skills, which are something women tend – and I absolutely stress the word ‘tend’ – to be able to use more than men.

With lifetime mortgage lending growing all the time, now is the perfect moment for advisers to add equity release to their skillset. And, as more women get involved in equity release, the benefit will be obvious for everyone concerned.

Andrea Rozario is chief corporate officer at Bower Retirement Services