Firing line  

‘Equity release is still not part of mainstream conversation’

For younger generations, the way they generate income is changing rapidly.

He explains: “The mix of income is changing and it is important that the financial system adjusts and adapts to it to create solutions.”

Mr Meiller adds: “I think the unsecured lending – credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans – is probably the next industry to be disrupted.”

He also admits Legal & General is constantly looking to improve the entire value chain. 

He says: “The ability to consolidate different information from different sources will enable us to see how customers have made their income so far, how responsible they are with their personal finance, and how they would cope with the repayment of a loan over time.

“We are working very closely with the regulator to see how we as a firm can support more customers with different product types.”

Equity release: biggest potential growth area

According to Mr Meiller, some 10 per cent of all the mortgages in 2017 were secured for over 55-years-old, but when looking at Office for National Statistics data, almost 20 per cent of the population in the UK today is over 55. 

Mr Meiller says this means there is an under indexing of customers in later life lending. 

However, he says “normalisation” will mean this area continues to grow, with the biggest potential growth being in equity release.

The Equity Release Council recently urged the industry and regulators to promote equity release more to help deal with the rise in the number of retirees needing a cash boost. 

Mr Meiller says: “But the industry is still struggling with its reputation from the past when the product was not as well protected and put together and clear as transparent for customers.”

Nevertheless, he says the industry has overcome some of the hurdles.

He says: “I do not think any other part of the financial industry as grown four-fold in five years, so it is truly spectacular growth.

“It just goes to show that it is not out of the blue, there is a suppressed demand in this space [now being] served because we are overcoming the barriers that were put there in the past.”

Victoria Ticha is a features writer at Financial Adviser and FTAdviser.com