It seems that as the equity release industry goes from strength to strength the negative comments just keep coming from some quarters. There is a very important reality to equity release and that it offers a lifeline to many people. It’s an essential product that will continue to become more popular because there is an increasing number of people who need to tap into their equity. It’s obvious that when faced with limited choices (with no option to downsize) extracting money tied up in your home is a great choice. Equity release is not a product of last resort but a perfectly reasonable option for potentially a huge number of customers.
The bigger this market grows the more it will benefit the customer, thanks to competition. Deals over recent years have led to very flexible, innovative and competitive products, not to mention the extensive safeguards. The bigger the demand the better the marketplace will respond, which means that the outcome will be better for the customer.
- More choice
- More flexibility
- Better processes
How does the industry help a wide audience get to grips with modern equity release and shake off the shackles of a “reputational legacy”. There is only one way. Firstly the industry has to accept that this will always be an evolving market. The industry needs to consider the implications of compliance, the structure of the products, and services associated with the sales process. The industry needs to stand up and face critics in a fair open and honest way. Hearing all the awkward and difficult questions. If this can be done there is an opportunity to highlight the changes already made and address inaccuracies some still have buried deep in their psyche.
A defensive attitude is understandable given how hard numerous people and companies have worked to raise the bar. The message must be an understanding of just how many customers are very satisfied with their equity release.