Written by


Claudia Pearson

Introducers believe that the equity release referral market is set for continuing expansion over the next three to five years, according to research from Key Partnerships, the equity release referral service arm at Key Group, the UK’s leading retirement finances firm.
Over half (58%) of all introducers believe the market will grow over the next three to five years with around 8% expecting substantial growth. That is a drop from the 68% in the first report which was released in 2019 and suggests that the impact of Covid-19 has tempered the previous optimism of some introducers.
That said, IFAs are the most confident about growing their referral business with nearly one in 10 (9%) expecting substantial growth and another 61% forecasting moderate growth, Key Partnerships’ second ‘Introducing the Introducers’ Report found [include link].
Introducers want to stay introducers
While most saw the market growing, the choice to introduce business to a specialist adviser remained the preferred route to market with 70% intending to maintain existing relationships with specialists and not offer advice compared with 66% in 2019. The number of introducers planning to offer advice to all clients requiring it has halved from 7% to 3%.
Numbers planning to mainly provide advice but occasionally refer were slightly up at 16% from 14% previously while the numbers aiming to mainly refer but occasionally advise dropped from 12% last time to 11%.
Key Partnerships believes the shift in market views is partly down to introducers deciding to focus on their core businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the economy.
Introducers Optimistic for 2021
Its research found wealth managers are the most confident about the effect of the pandemic on their business with 70% expecting business to pick up compared with 44% of introducers as a whole and 55% of IFAs.
Mortgage brokers tended to be among the hardest hit by the pandemic – nearly a third (30%) believe the market will get tougher for them in 2021 compared with 23% of introducers as a whole.
Jason Ruse, Business Development Director at Key Partnerships said: “With introducers predicting big things for the equity release market over the next three to five years, the potential for the sector is very clear.  That said, it is important for organisations to make the right choice around what advice they wish to provide and what advice they feel might be better provided by a firm that specialises in the market.
“Fundamentally, it is about finding the right fit for your business and your clients.  The importance of specialist advice cannot be overlooked, and we welcome more referral partners into the market.”
How the introducers compare with the average
The table below shows the average equity release amount and reserve for the market as a whole compared with different types of introducers. Wealth managers’ clients release and reserve the most significant amounts.

Average customer £83,074 £85,519
Average introducer customer £85,100 £136,193
Estate agent customer £51,406 £56,795
Mortgage broker customer £111,781 £142,730
General intermediary customer £106,341 £136,918
Wealth manager customer £154,096 £201,191