As the biggest distribution platform in this industry, you’d expect Air to have a view on the current market turbulence we are experiencing and to reflect on how this is impacting our membership.
We live and breathe later life lending and through not only our technology platform insights but also our membership communications and interactions with Ambassador partners, we have arguably the most complete and detailed view of the mechanics – and underling health – of this market.
Just one year ago, we were preparing for our National Later Life Adviser Conference against a backdrop of remarkable growth and success in our market. It felt like we had truly shaken off the post-covid ‘sludge’ that had slowed us all down and consumer confidence in later life lending was back at pre-pandemic levels.
Today, as we once again finalise preparations for our next Conference, the market is in a very different space. We’ve been through and emerged from the market shocks caused by the mini-Budget, but find ourselves in a different world to the one of last June – a market now consisting of higher interest rates, lower LTVs and the quietest period of lending volume since the pandemic.
The latest tremors caused by concerns over headline inflation rates, the base rate rises required to bring it under control and the resultant impact on long-term gilts and swap rates have resulted in some further corrective measures from lenders as rates have increased and some higher LTV products curtailed.
Undoubtedly, this has led to some of our members thinking about the future direction of this
market and their own prospects for growth against a backdrop of uncertain and, at times, volatile economic conditions. Understandable, given how difficult it has been for some firms and advisers to evolve their business models into this “new normal” in such a short period of time.
But at Air, we believe the fundamentals of this market remain strong and hugely positive, with significant room for further growth despite the temporary headwinds of high inflation and economic uncertainty. And here’s our rationale for that considerable optimism:
1.The underlying drivers of this market have evolved but remain primed to accelerate growth
While it is true that the market dynamics have shifted to a point where some consumers can no longer be serviced by equity release – those looking for ‘max cash’ releases to repay an existing mortgage debt, for example – there remains a huge pool of potential new customers who have yet to explore the opportunities for improving their financial position through later life borrowing.
Latest estimates from Savills suggest the over-65s in the UK own £2.6 trillion of housing wealth. And while the prospect of property price falls in the short term are looming, even significant corrections will make little more than a dent in this enormous pool of untapped housing wealth which is more than 400 times the size of the equity release market in 2022.
The cost of living crisis, an increasing dependency on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ alongside a growing number of older, residential mortgage clients looking for an escape route from crippling SVR-linked mortgage debt are all fuelling burgeoning interest and enquiries in to later life lending solutions. The ‘typical’ customer persona may be different today than it was a year ago or even pre-pandemic, but the fundamental drivers for accessing housing wealth remain as strong as ever
2.Air continues to lead the way in terms of providing its members with access to the best range of later life lending options on the market
Air was predicated on the principle of giving the smaller advice firm a bigger voice and more clout in this market, and that remains a core value of our platform for later life lending professionals more than 15 years later.
One of the key ways in which we hold true to this value is delivering not only higher proc fees for advisers but crucially access to the very best range of products from across the spectrum of later life lending.
Right now, at a time when some lending options are being restricted, we are proud to be in a position to offer our membership access to the broadest range of lending solutions, including exclusive deals – from some of the lowest interest rates to the highest LTVs currently available.
Our collective bargaining power and close working relationship with our panel of lender Ambassadors ensures that we are able to support our members and help grow their businesses. We know that cashflow counts, and that’s why we focus our energy on ensuring our members can continue to provide the best lending solutions whatever the external economic conditions.
3.Our market insights show that consumer confidence is high, demand is strong and adviser activity is undiminished
Whether you look at this through a consumer lens in terms of search engine enquiries or from an adviser perspective in terms of sourcing sessions, later life lending activity and demand is as high today as it was pre-mini Budget or even pre-pandemic for that matter.
As mentioned above, the nature of later life lending has evolved as the dynamics of this market have been impacted by the economic uncertainty beyond our borders, but this market’s resilience to change and ability to adapt is evidenced by the rapid changes in behaviour we have witnessed amongst our membership.
For example, there has been huge interest and engagement with our adviser-focused support on marketing and lead generation, as advisers and advice firms have quickly shifted their advice propositions into a different gear to react to this new market “normal”.
Demand for marketing support, allowing advisers to explore new areas of lead generation such as referral marketing, digital marketing and even embracing the very latest ‘AI’ technology, has demonstrated that advisers right across our membership and the UK are exploring new avenues of business opportunity, and we will be sharing case studies of success from those who are leading this charge with the rest of our membership so that others can learn from and emulate this success.
Over the course of the next few weeks, leading up to, at and beyond our next Conference, we will be providing you with access to some of the very latest expert insights from our lender partners as we explore these themes of market dynamics, drivers and future opportunities for growth.
Keep an eye on your inbox for more information about exclusive access to webinars, downloads and new content coming your way, all designed to help you navigate the road ahead to better customer outcomes.
Thanks for your continued support. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
CEO, Air Group