A week in the life of…

Paul Saroya director of Viva Retirement Solutions looks back on the working week when his firm was named in the Sunday Times as the VouchedFor top rated equity release adviser-firm, for England.


We knew we were going to be in the Times supplement yesterday, but we didn’t know quite how it would look. Having seen the supplement before, we were a bit worried that equity release would just get lost, but we were all buzzing when we saw it. It looked really good and I had a few lines in the accompanying write-up which focused on how the sector is putting its house in order. I’m one of the directors at Viva but I’m a front-line adviser too, so after making a few calls to congratulate the team, it was back to the other job, so to speak, which is just as well because we noticed an immediate spike in calls off the back of the article.


Today was the first workout in a while, at home in London Colney (Hertfordshire), with my wife Sarah. I’ve got a charity football match coming up soon, so I need to get in some kind of shape, which is getting harder these days now I’m in the veterans’ league. I used to play as semi-professional but even at my peak, I was a little way off playing for my beloved Spurs, to say the least!

We’re expecting another busy day on the phones today. I’ve also got a couple of Zoom meeting with lenders and an introducer too, which has come off the back of the VouchedFor rating. That is another reason why these things are important. It’s not just potential clients who take notice. We have always asked our clients for handwritten testimonials, that’s nothing new, but websites like VouchedFor have turbo-charged the process.


More training today. Sarah is the one cracking the whip and she devised the workout routine, it’s just a home workout but I’m feeling it. We have got three children Taio (12), Blaise (10) and Anais (3) who need dropping off at three different places, schools and nursery, each morning, so getting through that and a workout is a bit of a mission.

Wednesday is a paperwork day for me. I catch up on cases and I catch up with colleagues. One of the other directors, Mark Lambert, is expecting his fourth child so whenever I’m feeling a bit stressed with parenthood, the joke is at least I know he’s going to have it even worse. Not that either of us would have it any other way of course.


The last workout of the week today and then back to the home office. In between the usual client calls and a new starter interview we had an update from our colleague Liz Murley who is on the Council’s Standards Board. The industry has come on in leaps and bounds and that is in no small part down to the Council so we try to be active members of it.

Liz had been presenting to the Standards Board on our proposals to extend the consumer protections required by provider members. Downsize protection, 10% fee-free overpayments and compassionate windows are commonplace now, but the T&Cs are often very different which could lead to confusion and ultimately consumer detriment. We would like to see these features standardised and mandated. We believe the clarity would be extremely beneficial for consumers and the sector itself, much like the no-negative equity guarantee has been.


We always have a team catch up on Fridays and it was a sunny day, so I had lunch in the garden with Sarah. However, the unusual thing about today, apart from the nice weather, was that I had my first face-to face meeting with a client, since the pandemic started.

It was a little strange to put a suit on again, but it was great to get out there and see clients. There really is no substitute for seeing people in the flesh, when it comes to addressing their needs and potential vulnerabilities. It cuts both ways though and the clients were happy to see me too. Zoom is great, but it’s not for everyone and many clients prefer face-to-face meetings too.

The views of contributors are not necessarily those of the Equity Release Council’s

Name Firm Reviews Location


David Grasham Viva Retirement Solutions* 16 Rothley
Dave Hulin Viva Retirement Solutions* 17 Sutton Coldfield


Mark Lambert Viva Retirement Solutions* 18 Barton upon Humber
Simon Chalk Laterliving now! 87 Chesterfield
Amanda Hunt Laterliving now! 17 Chesterfield
Dawn Evans Viva Retirement Solutions* 13 Leeds
Robert Walsh Viva Retirement Solutions* 11 Manchester


Russell Coneron Viva Retirement Solutions* 15 Aylesbury
Rob Polworth Viva Retirement Solutions* 15 Basildon
Susan Williams Viva Retirement Solutions* 15 Betchworth


Viva Retirement Solutions* 11 Bournemouth
Shaun Tillyer Viva Retirement Solutions* 10 Chelmsford


Viva Retirement Solutions* 21 St Albans
Jan Johnson 55Plus Equity Release 15 Tunbridge Wells


Nick Craddock Viva Retirement Solutions* 11 Gloucester
Stuart Powell Ocean Equity Release 69 Plymouth

* VouchedFor Top Rated Firm (includes trading names of Top Rated Firms)

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