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SHIP rebrands as the Equity Release Council

Safe Home Income Plans will open up its membership on Monday to advisers, lawyers and surveyors as it rebrands as the Equity Release Council.

The trade body hopes its rebrand and new structure will help to pro­mote the sector and educate consumers looking to release the equity in their property.

It will be working with members to develop a new code of conduct and customers will be able to identity members of the council through its new website.

It will be headed by former Conservative shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson, who will oversee the direction of the organisation, while SHIP director-general Andrea Rozario will take responsibility for its day-to-day  running.

A newly-formed standards board will be led by Chris Pond, for­mer  director of financial capability at the Financial Services Authority, who will set the principles that members must adhere to.

This will be done via the body’s technical committees, which will be responsible for engaging with members to help the industry to work together to improve the customer experience while facilitating a positive environment for all those who work in the industry.

Rozario says: “With housing equity likely to be at the heart of many people’s retirement planning, it is vital that as an industry, we adapt to meet consumer needs.

“The launch of the Equity Release Council provides us with an opportunity to make equity release products easier to access and  encourage more product development to meet consumers’ changing needs.”

Simon Chalk, equity release planner at Bower Retirement Services, says his firm and its 15 advisers in­tend to join the council and uphold its code of conduct.

He adds: “The sector has spent a long time apologising for mistakes that happened 20 years ago. It’s time it stopped apologising.

“When it is used properly, equity release can make a difference to somebody’s life. It is time that message was put across to consumers.”

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  • HW 29th May 2012 at 10:49 pm

    SHIP must be the most anomalous organisation in financial services. Best to simply let SHIP sink (with all hnds aboard).

  • Glen McKeown 29th May 2012 at 10:10 am

    The crucial question is whether this is a facial update to add a few jobs for ex-FSA staff to step into, or will it be a body that both promotes and controls an important part of the industry.
    This will only be answered by history. But the opening statement does not look particularly encouraging.
    The opening salvo appears to concentrate on the expansion of the market and the need to see that it is run correctly. It would have been more encouraging to see those priorities reversed, so that quality products and advice enhanced the market.
    There are statements about the function of the new website – but this appears to be as bland as the old web site.
    I wonder if they will be bold enough to publish the base standards required of products, product providers, and advisers. And whether they will publish information on those that fail to meet those standards.
    Or will it be just another trade body looking after its own.

  • Angela Hesketh 28th May 2012 at 9:06 am

    Good news for the equity release industry and those of us endeavouring to ensure that customers have a full and accurate picture regarding equity release. Any moves to dispel the historic negative image in this area should be welcomed by the industry as a whole.

  • Michael B Gillis 26th May 2012 at 11:28 am

    Interesting

  • Rob Barwell 26th May 2012 at 10:11 am

    good news all round. I for 1 will be joining as soon as available

  • Bill Wells 26th May 2012 at 9:19 am

    Sounds like delusions of grandeur. Will it cost to become a member and will it be possible to give advice on equity release without being a member ? – I think I know what the answers will be in the near future.