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By Donia O'Loughlin | Published Jun 15, 2012

Ship replacement pushes for ‘warmer’ regulation

Providers should be encouraged to enter the equity release market and to do that, there needs to be a “warmer” regulatory environment, Andrea Rozario, director general of the newly-launched Equity Release Council told FTAdviser.

In an interview with FTAdviser, she admitted that there were challenges facing the equity release market, and encouraging providers to enter the market was one.

Ms Rozario highlighted new requirements such as Solvency II, a fundamental review of the capital adequacy regime for the European insurance industry, can “potentially be an issue for us”.

She said: “European legislation is something we need to be aware of and we have to influence it in such a way that it doesn’t have a negative impact on our market.

“We need to encourage providers into the market and to do that they have to see this as a long-term, viable, profitable market and we need to ensure that customers can get access to information easily.”

Ms Rozario said that was one reason why Ship relaunched as the Equity Release Council last month

She said: “The Equity Release Council will give consumers one port of call rather than going off to find an adviser or a solicitor or a provider.

“We also need some sort of government awareness campaign over what plans people have to consider in their retirement.

“I think there should ben a automatically produced booklet for when you come up to retirement that talks about everything from the open market option to equity release.”

The Equity Release Council has also called for one government department to take ownership of equity release as currently if falls across all departments and “that is a problem”.

She said: “The Treasury should take ownership of equity release so that it is a lot easier for us when we have conversations with people to explain that equity release falls under this department and it is that person’s responsibility.”

This follows on from comments made by Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council, to FTAdviser.

Ms Rozario said: “The bottom line is we want to grow the market safely and we want consumers to have confidence and we want to ensure that the standards we have already are maintained as the market grows.

“We want to work with all the industry so we have a cohesive effort which will help the customer journey and will also help people that are looking to come into the market.

“We want the council to be seen as the kitemark of standards with equity release so that customers know where to come when looking to take equity release and obviously there is the public affairs which includes the lobbying for a government department to take ownership of equity release, etc.”

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