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Air launches new Comprehensive Conversations Manifesto to establish standard of excellence in later-life lending advice

by | Feb 7, 2024

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Air has launched a new Comprehensive Conversations Manifesto to establish a new standard of consumer-focused service excellence in the later-lending market for later life specialist and mainstream advisers alike.

As new innovative products aimed at older borrowers continue to emerge in the market, advice firms and product providers must navigate a more complex landscape. In addition, the FCA Consumer Duty and recent regulatory review have prompted a re-examination of how financial advice and lending products are offered to individuals over the age of 50.

In response, Air is launching the Comprehensive Conversation campaign, a movement towards a benchmark for an affordability-centric and product agnostic approach for those in the later life lending market. The Manifesto will underpin the ongoing campaign, which will leverage educational resources and cutting-edge tech tools to empower specialist later life advisers, mainstream mortgage advisers, lenders, networks and mortgage clubs, and other professionals serving older customers to commit to offering a diverse range of consumer-focused options.

The Manifesto will call upon UK mortgage professionals to follow several core tenets. Later life advisers who sign the manifesto will pledge not only to meet regulatory requirements but to strive to deliver the highest standards of advice. Advisers will also be called upon to signpost all options available to customers and to expand advice, product, and servicing offerings, or to establish referral relationships facilitating access for customers to advice propositions or other services that may help them achieve the most suitable outcome based on their needs, preferences and circumstances.

As is already the case in the mainstream mortgage market, affordability must be at the centre of all conversations with older borrowers. In the past, later life specialists and mainstream advisers have considered affordability in different ways. The Manifesto will encourage all advisers to take full advantage of tools and technology to ensure affordability and other factors, such as preference, are assessed in determining the most suitable later life lending products for a customer. Signatories will also commit to ensuring customers understand the full breadth of non-product related options and will provide the right advice regardless of any remuneration drivers.

The Manifesto is further supported by a Later Life Lexicon, which will serve as a crucial guide for firms with clear definitions of all key terms in the market. 

The full manifesto can be viewed and signed here, for any parties interested in supporting this new perspective for the UK later life sector. 

Paul Glynn, CEO at Air, comments: “As innovative new products break into the later life-market, our industry must take decisive action to equip advisers with the right tools to nurture their continual professional development. The Comprehensive Conversations Manifesto, devised by Air and shaped by our partners, is the first step in a collaboration towards enhancing consumer-focused lending advice, with an emphasis on affordability and preference. It is our sector’s future, and we are inviting everyone – from the later-life specialist to the mainstream mortgage adviser or generalist IFA- to join.

“These efforts are just the beginning of a larger conversation, one held in constant dialogue with regulatory feedback and advisers’ experiences. Our shared goal is to reshape industry standards to prioritise client needs, ensuring every conversation focuses on affordability and the customer’s individual preferences and objectives. We look forward to working alongside the later-life lending community as our campaign grows in size and momentum.”

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