SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans) the UK equity release industry body responding over 90% of the equity release sector, has issued its response to results of the FSA’s second round of work on lifetime mortgages.

Jon King, Chief Executive of SHIP commented:

“SHIP is pleased that the FSA has reported that there have been significant improvements since their first mystery shopping exercise in 2005. we are also pleased that they have acknowledged that the main industry bodies, including SHIP, are active and committed to driving up standards and improving consumer choice. We will continue to work closely with the FSA in developing solutions to the problems they have identified.

“The FSA has identified three areas where they still have serious concerns: 1) quality of advice 2) low volume firms “dabbling” in the market and 3) disclosure. Whilst acknowledging there is still much to do, we would point to a number of initiatives introduced by SHIP this year that are intended to address these very issues.

“Firstly, we have recently introduced the SHIP equity release checklist for use by advisers and potential clients. This aide memoire sets out, in Plain English, the key areas that an adviser should cover when selling equity release products to clients. These include the impact on benefits, consultation with families and option other than equity release such as downsizing. This checklist, which can be downloaded from the SHIP website at, is intended to help raise standards of advice by ensuring that the advisor covers all the appropriate areas when selling lifetime products. This will also form part of the disclosure process.

“In addition, we have recently announced that from August 2007, SHIP members will no longer accept business from advisors who so not hold an appropriate lifetime mortgages qualifications. This is a radical move that has been widely welcomed within the industry and will put pressure on advisers to show their commitment to equity release. By insisting that advisers are qualified, we believe that we will stop “dabbling” in equity release and be left with only those who are serious about the market and their customers.

“We have greatly valued working with the FSA on making standards in the equity release industry better and will continue to liaise closely with all relevant bodies including intermediaries to ensure a robust and secure market for years to come.”