Equity Release  

Key rebrands from equity release to ‘later life’

Key rebrands from equity release to ‘later life’
Photographer: Darren Staples/Bloomberg

Key Equity Release has rebranded to Key Later Life Finance, moving away from a term which historically has been associated with scandals and customer debt.

The lifetime mortgage provider said the decision reflected an evolution of its business, having expanded the number of later life lending options in its range over recent years.

Alongside equity release, these other products include retirement interest-only mortgages and later life mortgages, as well as services such as estate planning and lasting power of attorney.

"Through moving away from the language of equity release to looking at later life finances, Key believes it will help customers to see these products in a new light, helping more customers to consider later life lending options," the company said in a statement today.

“For some the term equity release may have been a barrier to exploring this option, by removing this barrier it opens the door to engage with more potential customers, who could benefit from later life products.”

The firm said it continued to “considerably invest” in marketing and advertising campaigns aimed at conveying the breadth of later life lending products available to over-55s. This has seen Key change its strapline to ‘For the life in later life’.

Will Hale, Key's chief executive, said the brand now better reflected “the vibrant, diverse and exciting market” that the company operated in, and the range of services it now offered.

“We have been supporting customers as they access their housing wealth for over twenty years and we are building on this heritage as we evolve our offering to meet their developing needs and wants,” said Hale.

“This new brand will also help to grow the wider understanding of this developing market and ensure that more people are aware of their options in later life.”

Key Later Life Finance was founded in 1998 as Home Income Gold until it rebranded to Key Retirement Solutions in 2001. It has been known as just Key since 2018.

In 1991 the Equity Release Council was launched to add a guarantee of no negative equity in order to legitimise the status of equity release providers.

The equity release industry has had to work to improve its reputation, which took a knock in the 1980s and 1990s amid a number of scandals leaving people with large amounts of debt.

Advisers have since suggested the Equity Release Council could do more to help the sector on its road to recovery. 

“This is reflected in the apparent decline of referrals we receive via the ERC website directly from the public,” one adviser told FTAdviser last year.

But despite its reputation, in the past few years equity release sales have steadily climbed. Between 2013 and 2018, sales nearly doubled. This saw product options rise from 86 in January 2018 to 221 in January 2019, according to council’s data.

Then in June 2021, the number of equity release products hit a 15-year high.