Council members vote for stability in the directors elections as standards board expands

Members of the Equity Release Council have voted for stability and expansion by reappointing three directors to its Main Board and widening its Standards Board membership at its 2021 Annual General Meeting.

Will Hale, CEO of Key, Paul Turner, Managing Director, Retail at Just Group, and Dan Baines, Managing Director of Equity Release Associates, have all been re-elected to serve an additional two years on the Council’s 16-strong Executive Board.

They sit alongside a range of senior industry representatives who are part-way through serving two-year terms. The Main Board is completed by the Council’s executive team: David Burrowes, Chair; Jim Boyd, CEO; Donna Bathgate, COO, and; Chris Pond, Standards Board Chair.

Stuart Wilson (left), CEO of Answers in Retirement and James Ginley (right), who joins e.surv as Technical Director in May, have also been elected to join the Council’s Standards Board and expand its membership to nine.

The Standards Board combines technical expertise with independent input from regulatory and consumer experts to oversee the development and implementation of consumer-focused standards. Its expansion will ensure the Standards Board encompasses broader industry representation from across the market.

These appointments follow a year of membership growth and cross-industry work to embed and evolve the Council’s gold-standard consumer protections. The organisation saw a 24% increase in member firms during the 2020/21 financial year and will this month welcome its 600th member firm, spanning providers, regulated financial advisers, solicitors, associates and affiliates.

The Council recently introduced an endorsement mark for members as a badge of trust for consumers to look for, and launched two expert committees, the Funders Forum and the Legal Forum, to support its work to maintain a safe and sustainable market.

David Burrowes, Chairman of the Equity Release Council said:

“The Council has worked hard with members over the last year to progress important initiatives to support robust and consistent standards in the market, including launching a new Competency Framework to support adviser development. The ability to bring together perspectives from across the sector has been vital to maintaining consumer safeguards in an unprecedented operating environment. I look forward to working with our returning directors and the wider Board to champion the role of property wealth and flexible home finance as a mainstay of later life planning.

“The expansion of the Standards Board will help to ensure our consumer-focused standards continue to evolve and set out best practice across all participants in the equity release process. We are passionate about broadening sector representation as we strive to provide the highest level of consumer protection for any property-based loan in later life.”