Gummer appointed to equity release firm board

The chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries and the Association of IFAs, John Gummer MP, has been appointed as a non-executive director of equity release firm Sovereign Reversions.

The company specialises in home reversion plans, which as of yet, are not regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

The company was set up in 1992 on an initial investment of 2m. For 2004 the company posted profits of 902,000, and as of April, owned almost 500 properties valued at 32m, with net assets growing to 39m.

Gummer already has a number of other directorships, ranging from environmental consultancy Ambio to fire prevention firm Kidde, but this is believed to be his first directly related to the financial services indusry.

Gummer was appointed as chairman of AMI in June and was seen as an impartial representative, yet who at the same time had a good understanding of it from the chairmanship of the Association of Independent Financial Advisers.

However, some in the industry are concerned that his appointment could have a negative impact upon AMIs perceived impartiality.

One source, who asked not to be named, told Mortgage Strategy: “Some people would have the view that says AMI should have a chairman who sits outside of the industry.

“If theres an issue on home reversion or equity release, then he will have an interest.”

Others have defended his appointment. John Malone, director of Premier Mortgage Services, says: “I dont see it as an issue and I have no problems with that. Hes a very experienced individual who I imagine would have asked before taking up the position.”

But what do you think? To have your say, vote in our online straw poll, answering yes or no to the following question:

Do you think AMI and AIFA chairman John Gummer MP has abused his impartiality by taking a non-executive position on equity release firm Sovereign Reversions?