After several years operating under an affiliation with the American College of Financial Services, the Funding Longevity Task Force is in the process of finding a new home.
The task force, first launched in 2012, has operated with the mission to bring rigor to the study of housing wealth in retirement income planning, and through its efforts has forged relationships between researchers and reverse mortgage industry participants. Today, the task force is working on a new academic affiliation after a series of changes prompted the organization to move out of the American College.
“Our contract was up, and they’ve had a change of leadership at the American College,” Shelley Giordano, founder of the Task Force and Enterprise Integration at First Mutual of Omaha, told RMD in a phone call. “[former task force member] Jamie Hopkins has moved on to the Carson Group. They [at the American College] have their own reasons for not wanting to continue their association with the Funding Longevity Task Force.”
The relationship was among the points discussed in a Bloomberg News article published Wednesday that questioned ties between the reverse mortgage industry and several academic institutions—ties that have been disclosed and vetted by those institutions and related parties.
The Task Force, for its part, is in late-stage negotiations with a new affiliation with a “prestigious” institution that should lend optimism to the organization and its mission, Giordano says.
“The move forward will be in a different part of the country, which will give us a chance to broaden our contacts and offer a fresh, new way of looking at home equity in an even more academic [context],” she said. “One of the goals we’d like to accomplish is establishing what the knowledge level is among people who give advice on finances in America in regard to reverse mortgages, and then see two to three years down the road if we can really quantify a move of the needle.”
The Task Force was co-founded in 2012 by Giordano and Security One Lending Torrey Larsen, and its mission statement included a desire to “champion groundbreaking research focused on reverse mortgages.” When it first became a part of the American College in 2016, the organization stated its general goal to cultivate “an exploration of a rational and objective understanding of the role that housing wealth can play in prudent planning for retirement income,” said Giordano at the time.
Spearheading the collaboration between the American College and the Funding Longevity Task Force was retirement researcher Jamie Hopkins, who at the time of the initial collaboration was the college’s associate professor of retirement income and co-director of the American College New York Life Center for Retirement Income.
Hopkins moved to Carson Group as vice president of private client services and director of retirement research in January.