Later life advice model needs to change – FSE panel

Victoria McKeever said...

The later life advice model needs to change, according to a panel at the Financial Services Expo Midlands (FSE), which said advisers need to be more “holistic” in their offering.

Age Partnership head of partnerships Adam Carnall said later life advice was increasingly being delivered in silos, with advisers opting to be either later life lending or equity release or pension or long-term care specialists, rather than providing an all-encompassing service.

In order to be able to take advantage of growing opportunities in the sector, this approach will need to change, the panel agreed at the event on 2 November.

Hodge Lifetime business development director Steve Cox said both regulation and market factors had pushed advisers down this route.

“Ironically, regulation has driven advisers into silos,” said Cox. “The problem is that I’ve yet to meet an adviser who is a master of all those areas of later life advice. So, the advice model will need to evolve because it makes sense to take all those later life advice needs into account.”

He added: “The advice model will need to change to more partnerships with specialists, or through having more experts in these areas working within firms.”

Equity release

Specifically referring to opportunities within the equity release market, Key Retirement head of key partnerships Jason Ruse argued advisers tended to not realise the potential within the sector.

“There’s a big opportunity and I do not think advisers are as tuned into it as they could be,” he said. “For instance, equity release products have changed a lot in the past five years and advisers who provided equity release advice a few years ago will have remortgage opportunities today.”

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive Robert Sinclair argued advice should be compulsory for clients in some areas, such as remortgaging.

“We think advice should be compulsory for those who are going to use the sale of their property as a repayment strategy,” he said.

Signposting

Cox said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was taking considerable interest in the provision of later life advice but was failing to connect consumers with advisers.

“There is lots of talk about sign-posting consumers to advice,” he said. “A lot of Google searches are made by people looking for ‘mortgages for the over 50s’ and ‘mortgages for later life’ – the problem is they don’t point anywhere in terms of advice provision.

“We should be asking the FCA what it is doing to signpost where consumers go for advice.”

Cox also said a number of networks might need to reconsider the later life sector in light of the increase in demand for such advice.

“Some networks view older borrowers as very risky, when they are not,” he said. “They need to reconsider their perceptions of these customers.”