As a partner of VouchedFor, where you can see all our reviews and our Top Rated Status. We were very happy to be interviewed by VouchedFor regarding the implantation of the new Equity Release Council Standard, that we at Viva have been instrumental in driving forward. Being recognised in this way is a great achievement for us.
This is what VouchedFor had to say, and you can read more here.
At a time when equity release is growing in popularity, a new standard has been introduced to give consumers more flexibility and protection.
According to the Equity Release Council £4.8 billion of equity was released from UK homes in 2021. Some industry commentators attribute this to pressures created by the so-called ‘Cost of Living Crisis’, coupled with the increased flexibility of equity release which makes it appealing to more people.
Some readers considering equity release have asked how flexible equity release is. The good news is that it has become more flexible thanks to a new standard introduced by the Equity Release Council.
The standard formalises the need for consumers taking out equity release to be able to make voluntary contributions. Put simply, this means they can make payments towards up to 40% of the cost of their equity release loan and interest per year. This is helpful for people who, say, don’t need quite as much money as they thought they would at the point of taking out the loan. This means that people who are still working can now consider these plans safe in the knowledge that they can make repayments if they wish.
The standard was championed by Viva Retirement Solutions, an equity release advice firm that qualified as a VouchedFor Top Rated Firm in both 2021 and 2022.
“At Viva we see this as a stepping stone to add other [consumer] protections in the coming months and years to really galvanise the reputation of the industry and of course give future clients even more confidence in what they are doing,” says Paul Saroya, Director at Viva.
The standard was inspired by research conducted by Viva, with help from certain loan providers, into the main features being requested by their clients. The team at Viva then used this information to lobby the Equity Release Council who introduced the new standard.
According to VouchedFor’s research, trust remains the single biggest barrier to people engaging with financial advice. As such, it is brilliant to see the advice profession itself implementing changes to give consumers more options.
You can also discover more about VouchedFor through their latest guide as featured in The Times.