From experience in Australia (and New Zealand), where reverse mortgage lending collectively totals over A$2b as at June 2007, the most important factor driving growth has been strong and consistent education to the marketplace. Educating on the potential benefits, as well as the risks, has been paramount in gaining the acceptance of consumers, media/journalists and intermediaries. Providers have worked with consumer groups, financial advisers, media and government bodies to demystify common preconceptions about the product. This has been a sustained effort in Australia and New Zealand, and on the back of this, growth for the sector is rapidly emerging.
James Hickey is a Partner at Trowbridge Deloitte, the actuarial service line of Deloitte Australia, and a qualified actuary. Trowbridge Deloitte is the pre-eminent advisory firm for reverse mortgages in Australasia. James has written research reports on the opportunity for the products, and advised on technical actuarial work for most of the major product providers.