The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) accounts for nearly all reverse mortgages in the US, and for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s fiscal year 2022-23, the number of HECMs fell by around 50% when compared to the prior year. Indeed, the industry has been on a general downward slope since the heady days of 2007 – 2009, when more than 100,000 mortgages were issued to Americans each year.

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Insurers are favouring funded re as it helps firms manage the market and longevity risks associated with writing bulk purchase annuity (BPA) business by reducing capital charges and therefore making PRT deals more competitive. 

Unsurprisingly, given its growth and potential for capital optimisation, UK regulators have been carefully watching the increased use of funded re. In June 2023, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) sent a “Dear CRO’ letter to heads of risk at UK life insurers.

The letter outlined the regulator’s two main concerns from a sectoral review which it had carried out.

“One of the key risks arising in funded re is that firms recapture sub-optimal portfolios with depressed values and with limited ability to be transformed effectively to the firms’ preferred portfolio,” the PRA letter said.

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