Get to know The Council’s new CEO
David Burrowes interviews Jim Boyd
Our new CEO Jim Boyd hit the ground running over the last two weeks; joining our COO Donna Bathgate and me on our visits to members in Solihull and London, speaking at our Parliamentary events, meeting with various stakeholders including the FCA, ABI and Mortgage Finance Gazette, and responding to the latest PRA consultation paper on Matching Adjustments! It reminded me why we have strengthened our leadership team as we provide an authoritative voice for the industry.
Amidst this flurry of activity we managed to pin Jim down to answer some questions so members can find out more about him. Please let us know if you wish Jim to contact you or visit your business.
Why did you want to be CEO of the Equity Release Council?
I am passionate about good consumer outcomes. I believe equity release meets a genuine consumer need and is fundamental to later life funding.
The Council plays a vital role – not only providing consumer safeguards to ensure equity release products are trusted as being reliable but in facilitating the growth of a safe equity release market that gives more consumers access to a financial solution in later life. I want to help the sector achieve its potential as it goes from strength to strength. It is a very exciting time to be joining!
What experience have you had with Equity Release?
I have had extensive experience of the retirement financial services markets having led the corporate affairs functions at major providers (Britannic Retirement Solutions, launching Just Retirement and at Partnership Assurance). They provided equity release solutions and I have been responsible for media and policy issues with a commercial and reputational impact for them.
I am also proud to have initiated the campaign which resulted in the regulation of reversionary equity release. Lack of regulation was identified as a barrier to consumers and the broadly based campaign provided a much needed consumer safeguard.
This is your first week – what have you been doing?
I have been trying to get out and meet members – on my second day I was able to travel with our Chairman, David Burrowes and Chief Operating Officer, Donna Bathgate, to Solihull and meet with Legal & General and with one of our star advisers Sandy Ameer-Beg. On Wednesday we met with OneFamily. I am struck by the passion and commitment everyone has for their customers and providing them with great financial solutions.
What other experience have you had of the retirement market?
I have a deep understanding of the intergenerational issues arising from the UK’s rapidly growing elderly population and the importance of financial services to support their needs, both as an adviser to the Intergenerational Longevity Centre – UK and as a member of the advisory board of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA).
What are the challenges facing the sector?
I think it is important to generate awareness of the very real benefits of equity release among policy makers, opinion formers, politicians, regulators and consumers. It is important to ensure that the wide-ranging societal benefits arising from housing wealth – and awareness of the products and advice on offer – are recognised to address intergenerational inequalities to social care needs.
What major issues should the Council be engaging with at present?
Care! Equity Release can play an important role supporting the funding of adult social care. 43% of people in the care system have to pay for all their care costs.
I am the founder Chairman of the Council’s Care working group and successfully campaigned to place a duty on local authorities to signpost citizens who need care to financial advice in the Care Act. It is no surprise that the Council is addressing care funding in a Parliamentary event with Damian Green MP this week!
Have you always been involved in financial services?
While I have extensive experience in financial services I initially qualified and practiced as a tax and trusts lawyer and more recently I have had the privilege of being appointed as an Expert Adviser within the Department for Work and Pensions. My experience within Government has taught me the importance of ensuring policy is routed in practical considerations.
Where do you live?
I live in Canterbury with my wife Kate and three children – 2 are teenagers and one is 10.
What are your interests?
I love all sports, walking and am passionate about Cricket – although I am hopeless at playing it myself!
What are you most proud of having achieved?
Being the pro-bono adviser to the Save Bart’s patients campaign – which saved one of our most loved hospitals from closure!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?