Bridgewater Equity Release is calling on advisers to consider customers’ responses to a variety of ‘soft fact’ questions when determining which equity release product should be recommended.
The home reversion specialist argues the process of determining the customers’ suitability to either a home reversion plan or a lifetime mortgage can be strengthened by advisers determining a number of ‘soft facts’ during the fact finding process.
The firm wants advisers to set out these ‘soft facts’ to customers and to ascertain the priority they place upon them. ‘Soft fact’ statements might include whether the client gives a high or low priority to their view on house price inflation or their own life expectancy. It can also determine their priorities with regards to guaranteeing an inheritance, their aversion to debt, or the availability of maximum cash over the term of the plan.
Bridgewater has produced a sales aid which offers a checklist of statements and the type of plan the client is more likely to be suited to depending on how they prioritise these views.
This Bridgewater sales aid is entitled ‘Establishing Soft Facts’ and can be downloaded from the adviser resource centre on its website.
“When determining which equity release product is most suitable for a client, advisers have to collect a significant amount of ‘hard fact’ information to satisfy both provider and regulatory requirements,” said Chris Prior, business development manager at Bridgewater Equity Release.
“However, we believe that the ‘soft facts’ needed to give a proper recommendation are just as, if not more, important given they will give the adviser the full 360-degree view on what the client wants to achieve from equity release and their views on issues such as house price inflation and their own life expectancy.
“This handy ‘Establishing Soft Facts’ sales aid has been designed to provide advisers with a checklist of areas to cover with each client that can help determine which product route is more suitable. Depending on how highly, or otherwise, clients prioritise these soft facts will give advisers a rounded understanding of whether a reversion or lifetime mortgage is the more appropriate option.
“We are not for one minute suggesting that this aid will give a definitive view however we believe it provides a suitable aide memoire for advisers in terms of the areas to cover and questions to ask in determining these highly important client soft facts.”