Equity Release Council membership rises by 97% in two years

Council membership among adviser firms grew by 35% last year.

Equity Release Council membership rises by 97% in two years

Membership ofthe Equity Release Councilhas increased by 97% in the past two years, with the total number of firms rising from 219 to 431.

Last year saw a 35% annual increase in council membership among adviser firms from 246 to 332, while the number of solicitor firms rose by 46% from 41 to 60.

David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council, commented:“The option of accessing property wealth increasingly registers on people’s radar when planning for later life.

“The council’s growing membership means more people can access the highest level of consumer protection for any property-based loan when exploring whether equity release or alternative products can help to meet their needs.

“The UK’s ageing population faces longer life expectancies, intergenerational pressures and more individual responsibility to make financial provisions.

“The challenges of a 21stcentury retirement mean that, while unlocking property wealth is not suitable for every circumstance, it should be on every homeowner’s checklist to consider.

“There is more work to be done in the year ahead to build on recent product innovation and maintain standards of consumer protection.

“The council will continue to work with policymakers, regulators and industry to promote better understanding of today’s later life lending products and the social benefits they bring.”

More than 100 companies have now become council members in each of the past two years.

Last year brought a record 146 new joiners including Knight Frank Finance, Openwork and StepChange Financial Solutions.

The council also has seen a 77% rise in individual member registrations from 673 in December 2017 to 1,193 today.

Its annual member census for 2019 revealed 84% feel that membership is essential for their business.