SHIP, the trade body for equity release, has established a Fraud Working Group to consider the impact of fraud on equity release.
This comes ahead of the trade body’s re-launch as a new organisation that will represent the whole of the equity release industry.
The primary objectives of the Fraud Working Group will be to bring together SHIP members, advisors and solicitors to implement good practice guidelines across the industry to help ensure every possible step is taken to combat fraud in equity release.
SHIP intends to build relationships with suitable organisations to share information and raise fraud protection standards. This will add to the safeguards already adhered to by SHIP’s members, and help to ensure that equity release products are safe and reliable for consumers.
The immediate priorities of the Fraud Working Group will include:
- Identification of organisations that can help to provide early warning of suspicious activity occurring within the equity release market
- Establishment of communication channels with suitable organisations to help industry wide awareness of potentially fraudulent activities
- Consider ways of distributing information and ensure that the industry is able to present a firm and united stance to combatting equity release fraud
- To establish SHIP representation at the Mortgage Fraud Forum
- Proactively pursue opportunities to share best practices in fraud prevention
- Support initiatives to help combat fraud within equity release
Andrea Rozario, director-general of SHIP, says: “A person’s home is often their largest and most valuable asset – both financially and often sentimentally. Therefore the decision to release the equity from it is a big one, and it is important that consumers have confidence in the safety of the products they have chosen.
“SHIP’s Code of Conduct has helped to protect customers and build the reputation of the industry. The Fraud Working Group will work to develop industry guidelines to further increase standards.”