These new products underpinned by Council standards, this will provide consumers with access to more options backed by rigorous consumer protections as equity release embeds its role in mainstream financial planning. The Standard Life Home Finance products can now display the Council’s endorsement mark bearing the words “proud to be a member of the Equity Release Council”, a recognizable statement of quality and assurance for consumers.
Equity release product options have more than quadrupled from 202 at the start of 2019 to 796 today while interest rates have fallen by almost two percentage points in the last five years from an average of 6.20% in 2016 to 4.23% now².
Membership of the Council has also continued to grow throughout 2021 by attracting new entrants to the market such as Standard Life Home Finance. Substantial growth has been seen among both individual members and member firms, which have grown 46% and 60% respectively in the last two years.
Equity release products provide secure and flexible finance for older homeowners, backed by strict safeguards embedded in the market for 30 years. The Council’s recent report, Home advantage: intergenerational perspectives on property wealth in later life, found 57% of homeowners are interested in accessing money from their property as they age, while 40% agree it is becoming more acceptable to have a mortgage in later life¹.
Jim Boyd, Equity Release Council CEO, said: “The Standard Life Home Finance commitment to build its products around the Council’s consumer protections is a clear sign of confidence in the market and the bedrock of Standards that underpin it. The fact that lifetime mortgages will sit alongside Standard Life’s pensions, investments and retirement products shows equity release is now a core consideration in later life financial planning.
“The equity release market has seen a sustained increase in competition and innovation over the last ten years. It is important we build on this platform to meet the expected rise in demand, as lifetime mortgages gain further recognition as a practical, common-sense and aspirational choice in the right circumstances.”
Scott Robertson, Standard Life Home Finance, Board Member said “We are delighted that Standard Life Home Finance has become a member of the Equity Release Council. The innovative range of customer centric equity release products will provide more options to help people plan for their future, and the Council’s endorsement mark will be an added surety for customers.
”We look forward to working closely with the team at the Equity Release Council as it leads the way in ensuring the very highest standards across the industry, and we are focused on playing our part in the ongoing development of this relationship.”
Notes to Editors
¹ Council standards ensure consumers can rely on fixed or capped interest rates for life; the right to remain living in their homes with no requirement to make ongoing repayments; a no negative equity guarantee removing the risk of having to repay more than their home is worth; independent legal advice; and the right to move (‘port’) their loan to another suitable property.
² Moneyfacts Plc, October 2021
³ Based on independent research among 5,000 UK adults on behalf of the Equity Release Council, carried out by Censuswide in May 2021 and published in August 2021.
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