SHIP’s membership falls to 17

Safe Home Income Plans has lost five providers, taking the equity release trade body\'s membership from 22 to 17.

Bristol & West, Bradford & Bingley, Stroud & Swindon, Dunfermline and Standard Life Bank have not renewed their SHIP membership and are no longer listed on its website.

Andrea Rozario, director-general of SHIP, says: “This is not a great surprise to us. We have lost some members but are also expecting to welcome new ones.

“It’s indicative of how the market is changing. Some firms will be focussing on their core business and others will branch out into equity release.”

She adds: “We still represent 17 companies that provide a wide variety of products. Not only is equity release safe but the sector is open for business.”

She says that several providers are poised to enter the equity release market, but the question is whether they will do so this year.

Dean Mirfin, business development director at Key Retirement Solutions, says that with competition in the sector fierce it is no surprise that some companies have decided to focus on other areas of business.

He says: “With so many providers in the sector it’s always going to be tough competition-wise. There’s a fine line between being a top three lender and not lending at all.

“Unless lenders are able to cope with the competitive nature of the equity release sector they will find the going tough.”

But Mirfin warns that SHIP could be affected by the five members leaving.

He adds: “Dealing with the impact of losing nearly a quarter of your membership must pose a challenge for any organisation.”