SHIP relaunches as Equity Release Council

Trade body developing new code of conduct

Equity release trade body Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) is relaunching as the Equity Release Council following the expansion of its membership to include advisers and other third parties.

In December 2011, SHIP announced it would be opening up its membership beyond providers with the aim of representing the industry as a whole, and rebranding the organisation this year.

Now, as it relaunches as the Equity Release Council, the trade body has confirmed it will be working with its new members to develop a broader code of conduct, as well as launching a new website through which consumers will be able to search for advisers, providers and solicitors that abide by its standards.

The Equity Release Council will be headed by the chair, Nigel Waterson, who will oversee the direction of the organisation and director-general Andrea Rozario, who will take responsibility for the day-to-day running of the body.

Chris Pond will chair a newly-formed standards board which will determine and maintain the principles members must adhere to.

Waterson said the rebranding marked an important step forward for both the industry and older people in the UK.

He said: “After an extensive engagement process, equity release now has a trade body which represents the entire sector - the Equity Release Council. This is excellent news for the industry as by working together we can ensure that Government and potential customers understand the benefits that equity release can provide.”

Rozario added that the relaunch gives the organisation an opportunity to make equity release products easier for consumers to access and to encourage more product development.

Also this week, the Council released research showing that two thirds of people would consider using housing equity as part of financing in later life.

The survey of 2,000 people of all age groups reveals that while expected reliance on property decreases with age as people build up other assets, 55% of today’s 55-64 year olds believe it will play some part in their retirement finances.

The most common way that people would consider accessing the value in their homes would be via downsizing (45%) followed by renting out a room (10%) and then equity release (7%). 

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