Equity Release Council to brief MPs and Peers

The discussion will be chaired by Jonathan Evans MP, the Chair of the Insurance and Financial Services All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), in front of an audience drawn from government and opposition parties as well as from across the equity release industry.

The event has been prompted by the Care Bill which falls short of specifying that anyone looking to fund long term care should receive regulated financial advice. Nigel Waterson, Chairman of The Council, will be joined by Baroness Greengross, Co-Chair of the Ageing and Older People APPG, and Tish Hanifan, Joint Chair of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA).

Before inviting questions from the floor, the speakers will outline the challenges of supporting an ageing population, the key policy issues facing financial advisers and the importance of ensuring older clients receive expert advice that is fit-for-purpose.

Nigel Waterson will also discuss how housing wealth can be unlocked to meet financial needs in later life and preview a major new report from the consulting firm Towers Watson on Equity release: Accessing housing wealth in retirement. The report explores the consumer need for equity release products across Europe, and the impact of the current Solvency II requirements which may stifle the supply of products from insurers.

Nigel Waterson, Chairman of the Equity Release Council said: “The question of how to foot the bill for long term care is simply too important to be tackled without independent, regulated financial advice. When people have spent their lives working to build a nest egg for retirement they need to be advised on options to make the best use of their available assets – including their homes. Pushing people towards deferred payment schemes without weighing up alternatives such as equity release runs the risk of ignoring solutions that, in many cases, may be better suited to individual needs.”

Jonathan Evans MP, Chair of the Insurance and Financial Services APPG added: “Our industry has a duty to help reverse the trends that have left many people facing a savings shortfall in later life. Regulated advice exists so people can make the best financial decisions, which is just as relevant during retirement as it is in working life. These choices should not be taken lightly and demand the help and input of fully qualified advisers.”

And Baroness Greengross, Co-Chair of the Ageing and Older People APPG, said: “The deferred payment scheme is certainly one of a range of avenues that can help people meet the costs of long term care. But when it is so important to avoid any hint of financial mis-selling or mis-information, now is surely the time to ensure the older generation gets the necessary expert advice before making potentially far-reaching decisions.”

Tish Hanifan, Joint Chair of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), added: “Financial advisers can be a crucial ally for government when people come to question how they will pay for long term care. We need to take every chance to communicate the value of financial advice as people approach and enter retirement. The alternative is allowing people to rely on headlines and hearsay to guide their planning for later life, which runs the risk of creating an even greater financial headache further down the line.”