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Why do Equity Release Advisors, Mortgage Brokers and IFA’s need to work together more?

Huge Disclaimer: The following transcript was generated by a machine. It’s not perfect. It’s definately best to listen to the audio version!

Alex: Hello, and welcome to the equity release podcast. My name is Alex Curtis and I am joined by Mr Stuart Powell today. Stuart, how are you doing?

Stuart Powell: Okay. 

Alex: I’m very well, thank you. So I know you quite well, but I’m guessing the people listening in may never have heard of you before. So can you give us a bit of a background about who you and are what you do?

Stuart Powell: Yeah, sure, no problem. So I’ve been helping clients buy mortgages for go on 17 years now. Most of that for the high street bank. But three years ago, I started a mortgage company. Had a few clients talking about equity release, I’ve done my qualification. So I thought, okay, I’m going to start advising and learn a lot very quickly. Then, over the last three years, the business has morphed into a predominantly equity release business A because I love helping people with late-life lending issues. And B because, yeah, it’s the future. It’s booming. And I want to be part of that. So yeah, that’s a little bit background there.

Alex: Excellent. So, obviously, the main reason for this podcast is there’s a lot of kinds of myths and kind of issues around what happened before what’s happening now. So we want to tackle that but specifically, we were talking off about situations were actually an equity release advisor, mortgage brokers and IFA could really do with working together. Can you talk me through that kind of situation you were talking about earlier, where someone I think someone was, wasn’t right for equity release, but they could there is a solution.

Stuart Powell: Yeah, absolutely. I think mortgage advisors and I’ve been guilty of this and kind of become siloed as to equity release advisors. We’ve become experts in our chosen field. And if we can’t help the client, it’s not necessarily the best practice to work with people who can refer, you can refer the client too to help in a different way. And I’ll give a quick example of this equity release, lenders will lend up to a maximum amount of about 55% of the loan to value in the property. So, putting that in simple terms and £100,000 property that whenever I go and buy a property equity release lender would lend up to around £55,000, but that’s if the client is 80 and above, equity release starts from age 55 if not £100,000 house that only lends you about 25 to 30,000. That becomes a problem for an equity release advisor. So if you’ve got a 60-year-old client who wants to borrow, say 40% of the value of the property upwards, there is a lender out there that would do it. My concern is that equity release advisor simply says to the client, no can’t do it, I’m afraid not. However, if that equity release advisor is working closely with a mortgage advisor, or is able as we are to give mortgage advice as well. There is now a raft of lenders who will do an interest-only mortgage for an older person who will do a repayment mortgage for an older person, or there are specific products, retirement interest-only mortgages that would be right for that person. So given the example, I’ve said, if you had £100,000 property and a £55,000 mortgage, there are the whole sea of lenders who would consider lending to that person. And I’m just concerned that client when they get to see an active release advisor, isn’t necessarily getting the full holistic advice they need and given the opportunity to take a mortgage instead of activities.

Alex: Yeah, okay. Interesting. So, if I put my shoes in, let’s say my mom was looking at equity release and she maybe her first thought might be about money aspect to an IFA, but what advice would you give someone who is looking then, do they ask the activities of either IFA, like who they’re working with or how limiting my options are? What’s the best approach do you think if you are lookout? 

Stuart Powell: Yeah, you know, that’s a great question and I really don’t think that’s a question that the market, customers, and clients are asking because they go to an IFA assuming that they can help with all their financial needs. And it is brilliant in many respects. Equity release advisors are experts in their field and mortgage advisors are very capable people. But if those three groups can work together to help all the client’s needs, then we’re actually providing a great service for every client. In your mom’s example, if she went to an IFA, they may well be an equity release advisor if they are great. Some IFA’s remember old equity release, and I’ve had the experience where they’ve told clients don’t go near it because it’s not a good concept and, you know, compound interest is an awful thing, etc, without really understanding the changes that have happened. So, yeah, I’m a huge advocate on IFA’s, either working with an activities broker or working with a mortgage broker or both and vice versa because for sure we can help our clients with all those needs and help each other’s businesses as well.

Alex: Okay, so it could it can get a little bit confusing then if I’m sort of in the market for of actually knowing that we really obviously want to get sit down with these people. It could be a crowded room, we’d like all three of them in and so I know you do mortgage advice, and equity release as well. But I’m also kind of thinking if someone’s listening now and they’re sort of partway down the road with someone. How do they know they’re getting the full picture? What should they be asking an IFA is it. I know, there’s obviously the equity release council. Should they be asking are they members of that? Yeah. Are there any questions that we could ask?

Stuart Powell: Yeah, it’s a good question. And I mean, if they’re seeing an IFA for mortgage advice and it is the IFA mortgage and equity release qualified, that would be the first question that I asked. I mean, if we’re talking about ensuring that the advisor is experienced and gives great service, then I would also be pointing clients in the direction of vouchfor.co.uk. And I’mbiased.co.uk because that’s the main place where advisors previous clients review the advice, and that’s great. If the client had good advice. My only question would be how does the client know that they received full advice? If you go to an equity release broker, they will give you equity release advice. But could a mortgage have been more suited to their circumstances than an equity release product? So there’s definitely a gap in the market. I know that the stock gap in the market it’s a failure of the market currently to link together. I know, our group are looking to link mortgages and equity release advisors together so that less experienced and the more experienced advisors are helping each other. I don’t know if that is going to have a branch where mortgage advisors work with equity release advisors, and I think perhaps we as advisors need to work together to close those gaps.

Alex: Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. So have you got a kind of like a case and as such, where someone has been told there’s nothing they can do, but then you found something for them. We got like a scenario you could walk us through.

Stuart Powell: Okay. Yeah, that’s a really good question again. I’ve prepared a good example actually, because this happened a couple of weeks ago with a client who came to me with a £275,000 property and had £108,000 outstanding on a Halifax interest-only mortgage, with only three years left to run, and no repayment vehicle in place. 67-year-old couple. So in three years time, the banks can ask for £108,000 back and with no prospect of doing anything other than selling the property or taking an equity release. Unfortunately, as he is 67 as his wife, there’s a limit to how much they can release. Using activities around 33% of the property value, which didn’t get them enough, so 275,000 33% to that would get the £90,750. So if you remember the 100,800 was the mortgage the are around 18,000 short of where they need to be. And you can’t just directly release for some of them out of your mortgage, it has to be the whole amount. However, equity release wasn’t the right option I go decline and say nope, sorry, can’t help I say right. Okay, let’s look at other options. Well, they are on standard variable rate with Halifax and paying £398 a month. And I was able to negotiate with Halifax a new deal one and a half percent and they were paying £135 a month instead of 398. Going on to that deal, they say £263 a month. If you multiply that by the number of months left 36 months, I feel like Rachel Riley at the moment so and that calculates to £9,500. So if they carry on paying what they have got used to paying on their mortgage, they will have 9,500 of the shortfall gone in three years. So the shortfall is £17,000. They’re paying back 9,500 of it. So there’s only a £7,750 shortfall in three years time. In three years time they will be three years older and three years time, in theory, their property value will have increased that stage it’s far likelier that we could find them an equity release deal that would enable them to rate mortgage the balance that they have left, which would be about 99,000 if they had carried on overpaying. So I guess it’s not a precise are it can’t be because we don’t know what’s happening to interest rates. We don’t know what’s happening to property prices, but from going from a position of despair, where they thought their house may be repossessed, we’ve thought outside the box and created a potential solution for them. And I think that’s something we need to do more of as an industry.

Alex: Absolutely. And we’re gonna do another episode at some point on calculate online calculators and things like that. There isn’t a calculator that could have come up with that solution because you’ve got to think about all those different factors. But that’s incredible. This is why I love working in the industry of just hearing how you guys can step in and just what you did with the payments is incredible. So thank you for that. That’s brilliant. There are a lot of mortgage brokers thinking in this way or not how common I guess it is that?

Stuart Powell: We’re not yet common enough, I think, I know mortgage advisors are incredibly busy people and, really taken the time to work on and then grow their business and there are some fantastic mortgage advisors out there. But what’s that George Bush phrase? I don’t know what I don’t know, because I don’t know what it is. Yeah, you know, that’s why my mission in life is to educate clients, but it’s also to educate fellow mortgage brokers and activities brokers into other possible opportunities for their business and certainly their clients. So a lot of the LinkedIn stuff that I do is did you know that you could help clients in this way you could help clients in that way. And just last week, someone responded to one of my LinkedIn posts an IFA, we went for a coffee and I just started talking to him about how modern equity release has improved. And, and he had the old fashioned view of equity release, you know, high-interest rates, not very well regulated and flexible things like that. And I updated him with how it has changed. And literally yesterday he and I went to see one of his clients, who was stuck on a 7.24% equity release rate. Only £60,000 outstanding on their active lease. I was able to source a 2.9% rate for the 60,000. Just putting that into real terms, their monthly payment was £362. And we can do it for £145. So that saving of £2,600 a year and over 10 year period, which you know, looking at their ages that is realistic for them to live for at least that that will save £26,000 over the next 10 years. So the IFA was shocked and delighted for his climb. 

Alex: Oh, I mean that would be, that’s incredible. It gives me another reason why we definitely need to continue doing this podcast because that is incredible. So if someone has taken out equity release before that’s not kind of set in stone then we could be reviewing these on a regular basis or what regular basis reviewing them if you think you’re hard done by again.

Stuart Powell: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think there is a statistic that does the rounds that 94% of equity release clients have never reviewed their equity release, which is a shocking statistic. And in my experience is because they do not know that they can. And part of my work is spreading the message. Mortgage brokers out there will realize that I think the people whose standard variable rates, usually about 35-40%, but the equivalent of standard variable rate for mortgages is I’ve been on my equity release rate since I took it out. So the first thing we look at when we are reviewing someone’s existing activities, right is what is the early repayment charge. And the early repayment charge for the clients I just mentioned is zero because they took it out 10 years ago. So we will check first of all, what their ERC is. And when that runs out, if it does run out, or if it reduces, and we’ll do some maths that says, actually, this is how much we could save you. And even if you’ve got an early repayment charge, this is how long will take before you’re saving on your new rate. Now ways how much your early repayment charges. So that’s what I would say, I would say, over the last two to three years, interest rates have really gone through the floor with equity release. So if anyone has a rate of that which they’ve had for more than three years, review it. And the thing is us, as a group of equity release, brokers will do that for free for the client. So free review. You know, I would say, probably for every three reviews I do, to the advice will be actually no, it doesn’t make sense to do. It might make sense in three years when your early repayment charge reduces might make sense in five years, but at the moment, actually, it doesn’t make sense. Some of those reviews will be actually it will take you six months for paying you. Some will be actually in three years time. You will have saved more money than it’s going to cost you to do this. Yeah. But yeah I think we need to have those conversations and individualize them for each client to show them what is right for them.

Alex: So it sounds like an absolute no brainer, especially if you’ve taken something out before. Like you say that you know, even if one in three people could be on something better, then and it doesn’t cost anything to check, then it just feels to me than sitting down with someone, and coming back to the kind of the overall topic, make sure you’re speaking to someone that understands modern equity release mortgages, all the kind of later life lending options.

Stuart Powell: One thing I don’t understand is why equity release advisors don’t review their own clients and that’s a concept for the last year or so that I’ve been trying to get my head around. And I had a case come to me last week and it kind of, I kind of understood a little bit more and that was an IFA from Paul came to me and said, I’ve got a client whom I did some equity release for five years ago. And she wants to borrow some more money, but the lender won’t let her do it until she’s had advice. I can’t give advice, because I used to do mortgages, then I did activities now I’m just investments and pensions. So I don’t have the license anymore. So there may well be advisors out there with a bank of clients that they’ve advised in the past, that they’ve never gone back because they no longer are qualified to give the advice. So So that might be resonating with some of your podcast listeners.

Alex: No, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, so I feel like we’ve covered loads, but I also feel like I maybe like George Bush. I don’t know what I don’t know. Probably not asking the right question. Well, we definitely going to have you back on because I know you’re very humble about this. But basically the industry of coming to you and asking for your advice on things. There’s obviously a big bank, another big organization, wanting to sit down with you. So I’m sure you’re going to feature again. And then I don’t want to make this podcast a sales pitch. However, I’m sure people may want you. Are you happy if people were to ask you a question on anything if I’ve not been able to clarify it?

Stuart Powell: Yeah, absolutely. I think the thing is, I have a lot of conversations via email, phone and LinkedIn with people who are asking different questions and yeah, you know, you’re absolutely right. My aim is to get more people having more conversations with moreover 55 to get clients in the right position. And yeah, that rising tide, lifts all ships, whatever that other phrase is coming out of cliches today, that really resonates with me. Because if we’re all talking to more people about this, we’re helping more clients and we’re all growing our businesses. And you know, to don’t have to be mutually exclusive. They work really nicely together.

Alex: Absolutely fantastic. What we’ll do is if I can, is your email address easy to spell, or do I need to put the link on the website?

Stuart Powell: Yeah, put the link because I made the mistake of having a long email address.

Alex: Absolutely. So we’ll put that on there. Thank you so much. Stuart. There is again like we said, we’re scratching the surface. So many other topics I want to talk to you about. We will arrange to record more episodes as time goes on. But thank you so much for sharing that. I think that kind of for me. The one key message is to make sure you’re getting kind of full advice. on all of your options, and a no might not always be a No, it’s just a no to one product or one thing. So again, if I go back and think about if anyone asked me I’d say just Are you talking about you’re talking to an IFA, they are amazing, however, do they know about modern equity release and the mortgage options as well. So yeah, thanks very much.

Stuart’s website: https://www.oceanmortgagesplymouth.co.uk/