Advisers active in the later life lending sector believe the most important priority for the industry in 2022 is to re-educate customers and the wider community about its benefits.

Taking part in a series of online poll questions during the recent Air Group Conference, attendees were asked to give their views on the priorities for the industry and the trends they expect to see during 2022.

The Conference focused on the key themes to come out of Air Club’s recent adviser census on the market – the need for the sector to re-brand to a wider later life lending approach and not just focus on equity release, to re-engage with both advisers and consumers, and to re-educate those groups on the range of solutions available.

Attendees were asked to prioritise those key themes for next year with 58% saying there was a greater need around re-education, while 30% said an industry rebrand, and 12% would like more focus on re-engagement with the wider adviser community.

In terms of the trends later life stakeholders anticipate being prominent over the course of the next 12 months, 21% said they expect to see more customers entering the market to boost discretionary spending, 20% said the sector will see increased numbers of customers looking to rebroke equity release products, 15% believe lenders will make their product terms and conditions more flexible, while 13% believe they will see innovative new products from providers.

However, only 12% think they’ll witness customers understanding more about the full range of later life lending options available to them, 11% believe networks and large advice firms will become more active in the sector, and just 8% anticipate the equity release market will breach the £5bn lending mark.

The Air Conference covered a whole host of later life lending-focused topics with Air Group CEO, Stuart Wilson, outlining the growing range of services available to advisory members via the business covering product sourcing, enhanced commission terms, product and provider access, as well as qualification and training support for all firms.

Air Group also announced details of its 2022 Annual Conference which will be taking place on the 16 June at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Stuart Wilson (pictured), CEO at Air Group, said: “The key themes that emerged from our Annual Adviser Census early in the year were debated fully during our recent Conference, and it’s clear from these poll results – conducted during the day – advisers want to see the industry continue to re-educate all stakeholders about what is now achievable with later life lending products and how they can make a real difference to the lives of older property owners.

“Of course, we understand that the Equity Release Council in particular has focused on education around these specific products for decades, and it’s important we build on that work and broaden out its scope because there are a growing range of options beyond equity release, and that is likely to improve in the months and years ahead.

“Interestingly, advisers think there is clearly room for improvement on this, and we all have to grasp the nettle in explaining that later life does not just mean equity release, and we have more solutions at our fingertips than ever before.

“Advisers are, in general, bullish about the prospects in 2022. They expect to see more people rebroking and entering the market to boost discretionary spending and lenders responding with increased flexibility and innovation. As Air Group, we intend to harness those opportunities and help advisers make the most of them via our range of services, all designed to make it as easy as possible to be active in this space and to develop the growing levels of business which are clearly available.”