Equity Release Council welcomes new member

OneFamily Lifetime Mortgages have joined the Equity Release Council after launching their first equity release product earlier in the month.

As well as OneFamily, the Equity Release Council is now made up of Aviva, Bridgewater, Hodge Lifetime, Just Retirement and Partnership (now part of JRP Group), LV=, more 2 life, Retirement Advantage (formerly Stonehaven) and Retirement Plus. Legal & General Home Finance also joined in 2015 and Pure Retirement in 2014.

It comes as the Council marks the 25th anniversary of the first industry Standards being created for equity release under the banner of Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) in 1991. The Council today represents over 400 individual members and 150 member firms including providers, qualified financial advisers, solicitors, surveyors and other industry professionals.

The Equity Release Council say analysis of industry data by shows its provider members accounted for 95% of all equity release lending during Q1 2016, totalling £393.9 million. The market’s post-recession recovery has seen annual lending via Council members more than double in size from £788 million in 2011 to £1.61 billion in 2015: up 33% from the pre-financial crisis peak of £1.21 billion in 2007.

Nigel Waterson, Chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome OneFamily Lifetime Mortgages to our membership and look forward to its contribution to help UK homeowners make use of their housing wealth, where appropriate, for financial support in retirement.

“The equity release sector is experiencing growing demand from consumers keen to consider all of their available assets as part of their later life financial planning. It is very encouraging to see the market respond with increasing choice and flexibilities, with research by Moneyfacts highlighting the growing range of products and options in recent years.

“Our members have led the way in establishing a safe and reliable market for consumers, by providing guarantees about the standards of advice and products they will receive from firms who carry our logo. This work will continue as the sector explores new ways to combine innovation with protection and long-term sustainability.”

Georgina Smith, Managing Director of OneFamily Lifetime Mortgages, said: “We have introduced new and innovative features into the lifetime mortgage market, including the option of a variable interest rate.  We have done this to extend consumer choice and to help grow the market.

“When we launched our intention to enter the lifetime mortgage market, we said that all of OneFamily’s plans would be underpinned by The Equity Release Council safeguards and be based on the highest ethical standards, as befits a mutual organisation.

“These products will complement OneFamily’s vision to enable families to work together to meet the financial demands of modern life.”

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