With the FCA’s report on their ageing population work due this autumn and the ongoing collaboration across the industry on later life lending, it is clear that education and communication is key. Older consumers are seldom aware of their options outside of pensions and residential mortgages. This is not helped by the lack of guidance and signposting from some organisations in the third sector. The continued evolution of products makes it more important for advisers to be aware of when other types of mortgages, which may be outside of their scope, may be appropriate for a particular customer.
Regulation does not stop firms from having sensible conversations with customers – so many wider discussions can be had without straying into ‘advice’. A less cautious approach has to be taken, by both lenders and intermediaries, in order to help improve customer outcomes. Firms will of course set out in their scope of services what areas they can advise on. But good advisers will not be process-driven. Wider needs may be identified and these will lead to helpful discussions which can of course include guidance, leaving the customer informed, knowing what to do next.
We should expect regulatory changes to improve transparency and signposting. Intermediaries should ensure customers know where to go when a firm cannot help them, so there needs to be a focus on building better partnerships.
Senior Policy Adviser