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Number of vulnerable clients doubles in a year, say later life mortgage advisers

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Later life mortgage advisers have said that they are seeing double the number of clients with vulnerabilties but this may be down to better identifcation methods, according to a survey from a later life lender.

The survey of 300 advisers from More2Life found that 30% of advisers had seen clients in the last 12 months that they considered to be vulnerable, up from 15% in 2021. 

More2Life said this suggested that advisers were getting better at recognising challenges in their client base. 

According to respondents, 42% of clients with vulnerabilities are of an advanced age, while 14% have been diagnosed with ill health. 

The report also found that 12% of advisers said they had seen no vulnerable clients in the last year, a reduction from the 20% who said the same in 2021. 

The cost-of-living effect 

The lender said recent economic factors could also play a part in advisers getting better at spotting vulnerabilities, as well as the incoming Consumer Duty rules. 

Some 31% of advisers said the most common type of vulnerability was related to those who were impacted by the rising cost of living. Almost a quarter said this caused clients to be more financially stressed than before, while 23% said clients had fewer aspirations and more needs. 

Additionally, 15% said their retirement incomes were being stretched and they needed to increase their earnings, while 16% said they were more open to discussing options such as equity release. 

Ben Waugh, managing director of More2Life, said: “The need to identify and support vulnerable customers has been a focus for the later life lending industry for some time and the upcoming Consumer Duty deadline has made this even more important. 

“Today’s research suggests that advisers are becoming increasingly adept at identifying customers who need additional support and time to find the right options for their individual circumstances. 

“While financial pressure from the cost-of-living crisis has been identified as a stressor for some, other challenges such worries around the need to repay interest-only mortgages, advanced age and dealing with a lifechanging event have remained consistent. The additional time and resources firms in this market have devoted to supporting these customers will pay dividends and consistent work to boost their understanding is vital.”