THE EQUITY RELEASE COUNCIL SIGNS ITS 1,000TH MEMBER
- Sarah Barlow Financial Solutions Limited joins the Equity Release Council, bringing its membership up to 1,000
- The milestone marks the changing attitudes towards property and financial planning across the UK
- Members’ input continues to strengthen consumer protection and safeguards
Today the Equity Release Council (the Council) announces the signing of its 1,000th member, Sarah Barlow of Sarah Barlow Financial Solutions Limited (SBFSL).
Membership to the representative trade body for the equity release sector has been growing steadily, boosted by new entrants to the market. The increased appetite amongst firms highlights the changing attitudes towards property and financial planning across the UK, as people increasingly consider property as a multi-purpose financial asset.
Over half (51%) of older homeowners are now factoring bricks and mortar into their later life plans, while 44% feel taking out a mortgage or loan to access property wealth in later life is becoming a more common way to manage money. Two-fifths (40%) see it as a “reality” of ageing1.
The milestone comes at a time when equity release is experiencing steady growth. The start of 2019 saw £936m2 being unlocked from people’s homes, making Q1 the busiest first quarter on record.
The signing of SBFSL adds to the momentum built by the Council over the past year – with the appointment of Jim Boyd as its first Chief Executive Officer, Chris Fay appointed to communications manager and the opening of a new head office in the City of London.
Sarah Barlow, Sarah Barlow Financial Solutions Limited commented: “Joining the Equity Release Council was an easy decision for me. I’ve seen a greater consumer demand for equity release as homeowners use it for a variety of reasons, including giving a living inheritance to help children onto the property ladder. It was therefore important to me to be a member of a reputable trade body. One which promotes high standards of conduct and practice and helps consumers gain confidence in sourcing the right professional adviser for their needs.”
David Burrowes, Chairman of the Equity Release Council added: “We are thrilled to welcome Sarah as our 1,000th member. The growth in the Council’s membership is testament to both the rigorous safeguards and product innovation within the market, that are helping to move equity release into the mainstream of financial services.
“With the UK’s population living longer, attitudes towards property and financial planning are changing across the UK. The retirees of tomorrow increasingly plan to use money invested in property as a ‘nest egg’ for unexpected expenses or to help family members while they are still alive. The UK faces a complex challenge to balance the financial needs of old and young alike and property has an integral role to play.”
Since it succeeded Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) in May 2012, the Council has expanded its original membership to include providers, regulated financial advisers, surveyors, solicitors and intermediaries. Its work with an increasingly diverse membership focuses on upholding standards and safeguards for consumer protection and 84% of members now consider the Council to be essential for their business3.
It also works with government and regulatory, consumer and professional bodies to inform debate about the use of housing wealth in later life and retirement planning. Since 1991 over 460,000 homeowners have accessed over £26bn of housing wealth via Council members to support their finances4.
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Notes to Editor
1 “Beyond bricks and mortar: the changing role of property in later life financial plans”– was developed by the Equity Release Council with support from Key, drawing on the latest available public data where indicated and independent research among 2,503 UK homeowners aged 45+, carried out by Censuswide in May 2019. While care is taken in its compilation, no representation or assurances are made as to its accuracy or completeness.
2 All figures taken from the Equity Release Council’s Q1 2019 analysis of member activity, representing over 95% of the equity release market.
3 Figure taken from the Equity Release Council’s Q1 2019 analysis of member activity, representing over 95% of the equity release market.
4 Figures based on the latest Equity Release Council data.
For further information, please contact:
Katy Chambers or Amy Boekstein at Instinctif Partners, on 020 7457 2020 or [email protected]
About the Equity Release Council
The Equity Release Council is the representative trade body for the equity release sector with over 300 member firms and 1,000 individuals registered, including providers, 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, over 465,000 homeowners have accessed over £26bn of housing 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.