Why we’re leading the call for action from the Equity Release Council
4 August 2021
Offering our expertise to the Financial Times Adviser
In recent months, we’ve been recognised as a leader within the equity release sector by FT Adviser, who’ve asked us to comment on key challenges and news within the industry. This has ranged from the number of equity release products rising consistently year on year, to lower minimum drawdowns for equity release, to a rise in referrals from other industries.
We pride ourselves on being experts in our field. 55 Plus Equity Release was established over 15 years ago by our founder and Managing Director, Jan Johnson, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector. That’s why we’re always on hand to offer our knowhow on any developments that may help or hinder our valued clients.
This time, however, we’re the ones leading the call. In a recent article with FT Adviser, we’ve appealed to the Equity Release Council – the trade body that represents the equity release sector – to do more to improve the public’s perception of equity release and show the positive impact it can have for those who need it most.
Equity Release Council needs to raise its public profile
The Equity Release Council was originally set up in 1991 in a bid to represent the interests of the sector as a whole and measure good practice amongst those who work in the industry. It’s our belief, however, that the Council needs to do more to raise its profile against common public misconceptions if it truly wants to communicate the good of the sector as a whole.
Within the article, our Managing Director, Jan Johnson, commented on the Equity Release Council not doing enough to educate the general public about the strict regulations and guidelines that are commonplace within the sector. Unfortunately, after several scandals in the eighties and nineties, there are still a lot of common myths that exist today, despite the strict practice that is in place to promote the welfare of customers.
Protections for equity release customers
It is key that the Council should advertise to the public that there is good practice, standards and quality assurance within our sector. Some of the protections and benefits for customers within the industry, include:
- No negative equity guarantee: All equity release products which meet the Equity Release Council’s standards are required to have a ‘no negative equity guarantee’. This means that you, or your estate, will never owe more money to your lender than your house is worth
- A wide range of products: We all have different wants and needs, meaning that one equity release product will never work for every customer. There are an ever-increasing number of equity release products available, meaning that most customers will be suitable for a plan that works for them
- Retaining ownership of your house with a lifetime mortgage: Many customers mistakenly believe that if they release equity, they won’t own their home anymore. With a lifetime mortgage, this is simply untrue
- Repayment plans: Many equity release customers don’t want to repay their debt until they pass away or sell their home. For those who do, there are lots of flexible plans that enable one-off or monthly repayments which help to keep the amount you owe your lender down
- Plans protecting your family’s inheritance: Many plans will enable you to protect a certain amount of value in the property, ensuring that your family are well looked after you’re gone.
If you want to learn more about the protections available for you as an equity release customer, then please get in touch.
Safe consultations: socially distanced, over the phone or by video call – we are happy to hold our initial free consultations however you feel safest, in line with current guidelines.