Equity Release Council updates Standards to provide additional customer protections while supporting innovation

The Equity Release Council (the Council) today announces updates to its Standards as well as a wider review of these vital consumer safeguards.  This is taking place as part of its commitment to supporting good customer outcomes as well as innovation within the Later Life Lending sector. 

All Council members are currently required to adhere to a set of standards and principles which safeguard customers by ensuring they are fully informed, and products and services meet best practice.  Following consultation with stakeholders and members, the Council has made some initial updates to the Standards with a wider refresh planned for later in 2024.

The first tranche of updates will come into effect from 01 March 2024 and include two notable changes which underpin increased product flexibility and consumer choice in later life.  Firstly, new standards for Mandatory Payment Lifetime Mortgages have been developed to offer customers enhanced protections and additional peace of mind.

In addition, the Standards now include the requirement for advisers to cover income and expenditure as part of the advice process. This important metric is already included in many adviser discussions alongside topics such as alternatives to equity release but to ensure that it is consistently delivered, Council Standards now mandate this.

Consumer-focused equity release standards were first introduced by the Council in 1991 and have constantly evolved since then as they are fundamental to building and maintaining trust in a market which has supported over 650,000 customers over this period.

Michelle Highman, Chair of the Equity Release Councils Standards Committee, said: “The Council’s Standards have been vital to the development of a vibrant market, but it is important that we regularly review them and consider how we best serve customers as well as support innovation within this sector. 

“The Council is therefore undertaking a thorough review in 2024 with input from members, stakeholders, and other interested parties.  The evolution of our Standards is key to helping the market continue to grow and ensure that the diverse customers who choose to access their housing equity can do so with confidence.”

Kelly Melville-Kelly, Director of Risk, Policy and Compliance at the Equity Release Council added: “As a market, we have seen significant innovation and change over the last few years, and it is vitally important that we ensure our Standards continue to evolve.

“The updates that we have announced today are just a start and we will shortly be launching a wider review and seeking input from members as well as wider industry stakeholders.  This will be a wide-ranging refresh which will look at not only the standards themselves but how they are communicated to customers to ensure that they provide the best protection possible.”


Notes to Editors

About the Equity Release Council

The Equity Release Council (the Council) is the representative trade body for the UK equity release sector with more than 750 member firms and 1,800 individuals registered, including providers, funders, regulated financial advisers, solicitors, surveyors and other professionals.

It leads a consumer-focused UK based equity release market by setting authoritative standards and safeguards for the trusted provision of advice and products. Since 1991, more than 650,000 homeowners have accessed £46bn of property wealth via Council members to support their finances.

The Council also works with government, voluntary and public sectors, and regulatory, consumer and professional bodies to inform and influence debate about the use of housing wealth in later life and retirement planning.

For more information or to request a copy of our Standards please: