OneTrust Home Loans recently announced a partnership with Richmond-based Wealthcare Capital Management to give the company’s financial advisors access to Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-sponsored Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loans. The goal is to better assist in the retirement planning of senior clients.
Spearheaded by OneTrust’s 55+ lending division president, Jesse Q. Allen, and its SVP of equity wealth strategies, Ryan Ponsford, the new partnership has a goal of helping financial planners better understand and potentially recommend reverse mortgage loans to clients using Wealthcare’s planning services.
To learn what this partnership entails, RMD spoke with Allen and Ponsford about the move.
How the partnership works
The reverse mortgage industry’s focus is on the integration of housing wealth as a retirement tool, but it also lacks the ability to operationalize that goal, according to Allen.
“We want to take the math, and ask how we actually change outcomes for clients and advisors to enhance their practice through the use of reverse mortgages,” Allen said. “We want to weave housing wealth into such a practice in a more meaningful way, consistently. [This partnership helps our industry to] really realize that dream of leveraging housing wealth for the benefit of the client.”
In turn, many reverse mortgage professionals have faced barriers to adding more financial advisors to the conversation. For Ponsford, the message he wants to get across through the partnership is that it’s possible.
“I’ve been in this business for five years, scratching my head, trying to figure out how it’s possible that this industry has not penetrated the financial services market,” he said.
Operationalizing the relationship
Ponsford, in turn, has had the desire to turn a passive relationship into action, he said.
“I’ve asked how we have not managed to use some of these tools to create better retirement outcomes, and how it’s possible that nobody has unlocked that door,” he said. “So, now that we have the opportunity with what we’ve built here to create a platform and message that is really specific to the financial services professional space — built for advisors by advisors — it’s a different game.”
Operationalizing the reverse mortgage professional/advisor relationship is done by integrating OneTrust with Wealthcare’s financial advisor platform, according to Ponsford.
“It’s not an easy thing to infiltrate a firm of that size, and get them to create awareness around what we’re doing,” he said. “They’ve been a fantastic partner because their platform is built for these types of relationships. So in their case, we’ve been able to piggyback onto other similar relationships that they bring value-add to their advisor with. So, they actually have a system of integration into their firm that we’ve been able to partner with.”
The Wealthcare perspective
In a statement provided to RMD, Wealthcare President Matt Regan found the approach of OneTrust in this relationship intriguing, saying it could allow a new tool for advisors in a language they can understand: their own.
“When it came to including our own heavily planning-centric advisors in discussions with the OneTrust team, there was a level of credibility that removed any hesitation that our advisors may have had about utilizing reverse mortgages in their wealth management practices,” Regan said in a statement.
Wealthcare has opened communication lines between the over 170 advisors that are a part of its network and the OneTrust team following the announcement of the partnership last month, he said.
“The relationship is now collaborative,” Regan said. “Wealthcare constantly strives to present our advisors the tools that they need to best service their clients and to provide excellent outcomes in retirement for their clients, and we consider the OneTrust offering another best-in-class solution.”
Other efforts to connect with financial professionals
The reverse mortgage industry and some of its largest companies have sought out different kinds of financial advisor partnerships in the past, including the Financial Planners Association (FPA) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). Those efforts are helpful, but OneTrust takes a different approach, according to Posnford.
“I think it’s great that those people are doing that,” Ponsford said. “It creates awareness and legitimizes our industry, so I think it’s awesome. But, we need everybody going at this from every angle, so our approach has been a little bit different.”
Forging planner relationships has been a challenge from the top down, but the approach by OneTrust reflects the desire to try and create demand from a different angle, he said.
“Our strategy from the beginning of this was that we needed to create enough groundswell among the financial professional community, so that by the time we go to the top, they have to have heard about this before,” he said. “Because they’re not going to do anything that their people aren’t demanding, or at least aware of, at a minimum.”
That lends to a desire for operationalizing the relationship, according to Allen.
“Those [at the trade association level] are valuable relationships,” Allen said. “But from what we’ve seen, those don’t change behaviors at the adviser level with clients. So, you complement those relationships industry to industry with the financial advisors who are running their practices, and who begin to understand the benefit at the client level. That was a part of the journey with Wealthcare.”
OneTrust set up its 55+ lending division last summer with Allen as its president.