31 March 2021
Council launches member endorsement mark as part of brand refresh
The Equity Release Council has launched a member endorsement mark as part of a brand refresh that reflects the modern equity release market.
The endorsement mark (below) provides a badge of trust for potential and existing customers to look for, reflecting the security which the Council’s standards provide.
It will act as a recognisable statement of quality that offers confidence and reassurance for consumers by embodying members’ commitment to quality and professionalism in the products and services they offer.
Members can use the new endorsement mark immediately, and the Council is encouraging them to adopt it as soon as practical, with a grace period which runs throughout 2021 during which time members are permitted to use the previous logo.
This year represents 30 years since the Council’s predecessor, Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP), established the first consumer-focused standards for equity release products and advice, bringing voluntary regulation to the market in 1991 ahead of the Mortgage Code’s introduction in 1997.
Today’s standards have evolved over the last 30 years to complement statutory regulation since 2004 and provide what the Council believes to be the highest level of consumer protection for property-based lending in later life.
The new endorsement mark has been launched to members as part of a brand refresh which the Council has adopted to better represent the innovative and vibrant equity release market. This evolution forms part of a strategic programme of activity underway, including the appointment of a Risk, Policy and Compliance team to oversee the continuing revision and evolution of consumer-focused product and advice standards.
The Council also launched a new Competency Framework for advisers last month and has developed other adviser resources to support good practice across the market.
These milestones come at a time of significant growth in the Council’s membership. Over the last year, more than 100 firms have joined the organisation, taking the total number of member firms to 586, while individual membership has grown by almost 200 to reach 1,454.
The Council’s 2021 annual member census found 93% of respondents agree the safeguards and protections enable consumers to trust that equity release is safe and reliable.
Jim Boyd, CEO of the Equity Release Council, said:
“Over the course of 30 years of setting consumer-focused standards, the equity release market has been transformed to become part of mainstream conversations about funding later life. Today’s product range offers flexible finance to older homeowners, backed by robust safeguards and protections.
“At a time when people are living longer lives and have an unprecedented choice of options to release equity at affordable rates, our new member endorsement mark provides a sign of quality, professionalism and trust, by demonstrating to potential customers that members are committed to best practice in the products and services they offer.”