The Equity Release Lady launches to empower female homeowners and advisers
Following in the footsteps of the successful ‘The Mortgage Girl’, launched last year, Plymouth-based Ocean Mortgages Group has this week launched ‘The Equity Release Lady’, with the aim to change the UK equity release sector forever.
Samantha Bickford, Managing Director of the new company, decided that the time was right for a female-only advice team to help female homeowners release equity from their properties. Commenting on the launch, she says:
“This is the first time a female-only equity release adviser has been created with the aim of empowering, educating and supporting female homeowners aged 55 and above to explore their borrowing options.”
Samantha says The Equity Release Lady held a launch event last week, attended by a large group of successful businesswomen from around the country. Their conclusion was that this is not just what the equity release industry needs, but what the entire financial services sector needs, a sector in which women are still significantly under-represented.
“Everyone in the industry keeps talking about how year after year equity release is booming and each year it’s growing, but in reality, it’s stuck,” Bickford said. “Lending has been around the same mark for the last three years. Something needs to change, and we want to drive that change.”
There are 1.7 million widows over the age of 70 in the UK, approximately triple the number of widowed men, according to government statistics. And a survey by broker Key released last year found that single women were twice as likely to use equity release than single men.
Yet according to the Equity Release Council, just one in five equity release advisers are female.
Bickford said it was important to level up the gender divide in the advice industry to give women the opportunity to deal with a female adviser if it made them more comfortable.
“The equity release advice sector needs to reflect society in terms of a 50/50 split between the genders,” said Bickford.
“There is an innate trust between women which is particularly important for newly divorced, bereaved or single female borrowers”.
Bickford added: “Equity release products have become more modern, it’s time the industry became modern too.”
Jim Boyd, chief executive of the Equity Release Council, said: “We recognise the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion and the value that individuals from different backgrounds can bring to the council and the wider market. We strive to ensure different voices feed into the council’s work, and that these voices represent the consumers we engage with.
“I welcome The Equity Release Lady focusing efforts in this area. I am supportive of any company within the sector that seeks to increase diversity and I congratulate the team on the launch of their new business.”
The Equity Release Lady also works in conjunction with The Mortgage Girl, as often older borrowers such as parents or grandparents, wish to release equity from their property to gift to their children to use as a deposit to purchase their first home as a first-time buyer.
The Equity Release Lady currently has two advisers, with three in training who are expected to qualify over the next twelve months. Many enquiries have already been received from female advisers across the country who are keen to join the exciting new venture.
The new company is part of the Plymouth-based Ocean Mortgages Group, which has successfully built a strong reputation since its inception in 2017.
Please contact us to find out more details about The Mortgage Girl services. We are delighted to provide you with initial, free advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
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