Making local connections that work
An interview with Jane Hanlon, Mortgage Club Manager at Advise Wise.
Also a former adviser, Jane shares her views on how advisers can overcome myths, generate new leads and build local connections to make their lifetime mortgage pipeline flourish.
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Tell us a bit about your background
"My first experience of equity release was back in the 1980s, where I worked as an Assistant Manager at the Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society. I then moved to the Bank of Scotland, where I worked as a Business Development Manager for many years. As time went on I knew I wanted to help people make more informed decisions about their finances. So I trained and fully qualified as an adviser in 2009, and set up the Premier Equity Release Club in 2014. I've recently joined Advise Wise where I run the Advise Wise Mortgage Club, focusing on the helpdesk and placement service.
What attracted you to working with Advise Wise Mortgage Club?
"Every equity release case is different, and for every case there’s a reason why you’d place it with a specific lender. For the adviser who doesn’t do it every day, the club can offer a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’. We can say which lenders’ products will work for a client, and which ones won’t. The market is growing and the more confident advisers become with equity release products, the better client outcomes they’ll achieve."
What is stopping advisers entering the lifetime mortgage market?
"I think some advisers are put off by the former reputation of equity release, and may not be aware of safeguards the Equity Release Council now have in place. This includes the ‘no negative equity guarantee’ which means borrowers, and their estate, will never owe more than their home is worth. The industry has been through tremendous change over the last 30 years, but further education is needed to make the market more attractive to advisers."
What’s the best way for new advisers coming into the market to source leads?
"The adviser’s first port of call should be their existing client bank. They could do something as small as communicating their services on a postcard, and including a list of useful numbers such as debt and pension credit helplines in the area. It may sound small, but this keepsake item puts adviser’s front and centre of their clients’ minds – especially if it builds on the strong foundations of an existing relationship."
What local connections could drive new business for advisers?
"Estate agents are often a successful connection to make. Many local branches won’t have an equity release-qualified adviser in house – but they will have clients who could benefit from the product. They could have retirees looking to upsize but with a shortfall in money, first-time buyers turning to grandparents or parents for a deposit, or self-employed workers over 55 struggling to prove affordability for a residential mortgage. There’s a great synergy between the two businesses.
Sharing office space with other businesses is another option to consider. Having a shop window close to amenities could improve footfall and bring new prospects through the door from fellow space sharers. This gets their business noticed by people who didn’t know they existed."
Any final thoughts on where the lifetime mortgage business is headed in future?
"I think ‘lifetime’ products are heading in the same direction as mortgages. Even though a lifetime mortgage is a ‘lifetime’ product, it can be used to meet the more immediate needs of retirees. We’re likely to draw our state pension much later in life, and working longer won’t suit everyone. A lifetime mortgage could be used to provide an income to those wishing to retire before they’re ready or able to draw their state or private pensions.
I’m excited to see the products evolve and look forward to supporting many new advisers in this growing market."