more2life, Standard Life Home Finance, and Comentis among latest firms to sign Comprehensive Conversations Manifesto

Air’s Comprehensive Conversations Manifesto has reached a milestone of over 70 signatories in less than a month since launch.

The signatories include notable lenders and firms, including: more2life, Standard Life Home Finance, Viva Retirement Solutions, and Eadon & Co.

In addition, Air has launched a series of six masterclasses to support signatories and the wider industry in reaching a service quality benchmark that’s fully aligned with the Comprehensive Conversation framework and which is responsive to changing customer needs.

Air will also work alongside its Select Ambassadors, such as Comentis, to provide new services to the specialist market.

The Comprehensive Conversations Campaign aims to raise awareness of a new demographic of customers, many of whom will carry mortgage debt into retirement.

Many members of the new demographic will rely on the support that the continuum of lifetime lending can provide them in managing debt on a fixed retirement income.

The campaign also seeks to support advisers and clients navigate the complexities of the mortgage market, changing regulations, evolving product options, and affordability challenges and income.

In order to reach a new customer service paradigm for the later-life lending industry, signatories to the manifesto pledge to adhere to regulatory and industry guidance, provide support and education to support, use technology to keep consumer affordability at the heart of the advice process and ensure that customers have an understanding of non-product related options.

Paul Glynn, CEO at Air, said: Ever since its launch, the Comprehensive Campaign has only grown in momentum, and today’s milestone is yet another step in our journey to ensure that every later-life lending customer receives a strong outcome regardless of their entry point into the advice journey.

“We welcome those firms who have already signed the manifesto, and invite those who have not to join us.

“As the traditional equity release demographic seeking to unlock funds for discretionary spending moves into older age groups, a new generation of potential later life lending customers in their 50s, still shouldering the burden of mortgage payments into retirement, provide advisers the opportunity to grow their customer base and providing long term solutions to their needs.

“This group requires specialist triage and referral services to identify the best mortgage solutions that suits their financial situation best, across both mainstream and later life lending sectors.”

Ben Waugh, managing director at more2life, added: “The new manifesto outlines a starting point for a conversation – it is not the final word on the Comprehensive Conversations movement.

“If the IFA sector is to honour its pledges to later-life customers, we must closely collaborate to provide quality support to advisers whilst meeting every single one of the FCA’s regulatory requirements.

“Air’s Safer Tracks initiative will set the groundwork, establishing the benchmark for high-quality broker education, effective sourcing tools, and innovative mortgage technology.

“Real change rarely arrives from individual effort – we must work together to set the standard, and it begins when we talk to each other.”

Jonathan Barrett, CEO and co-founder at Comentis, said: “In 2024, the later-life lending sector will reach an evolutionary crossroads.

“It’s vital that all lenders, regardless of their specialist focuses, are prepared to step into a future where they recognise that there is no longer such a thing as a traditional or uniform equity release customer.

“Instead customers will come in many different forms; some will continue to unlock wealth to fund discretionary spending, others will lean on lifetime mortgages to reduce their debt burden in retirement. Because of this, recognising and catering to the varying degrees of client vulnerability will be paramount.

“As an Air Ambassador, it’s a privilege to support Air and the Comprehensive Conversations Campaign in its ongoing effort to modernise the industry and establish an agreed definition of quality for technological solutions and customer service”