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The New Equity Release Council Standards

Updated: 5 days ago

equity release council

We are delighted to see that there has been a new standard added by Equity Release Council and are incredibly happy that the challenging work at Viva has really paid off to help make this happen. This standard is of course the fact that from 28th March 2022 all plans under the Equity Release Council remit must offer voluntary contributions to all clients going forward.

If you are within the industry, you maybe thinking “Well most plans already have this offering, so what is new?” but actually this is a big step that has been taken to formalise the feature going forward. It moves the “minimum guarantee” line in the sand forward for the protection of all clients and this can only be a good thing overall.

The new addition will only impact advisers and clients alike positively and allows for clients to have options around repayments in the future, giving them full control over interest roll up. This has long been a thorn in the side of the industry and so yes – this is a big deal!

Indeed, at Viva we see this as a stepping stone to add other 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.

The idea started back with Viva over 18 months ago and being members of the Equity Release Council allowed Viva to influence the right people to get this topic on the agenda at meetings. This also very much fell in line with the acceptance that standards need to continue to be raised by the industry itself to avoid FCA interventions.

We were incredibly lucky to have an enthusiastic advocate in Liz Murley, one of our advisers, who works hard as the only client advising member on the Standards Board at the Council and this really helped to highlight the fact that we must all try to bring the standards up to date and move with the times.

Many presentations later, saw Liz ask the whole of the Viva team to come together to provide mass data to show what features were being asked for by clients and indeed what features were actually being used. Some of this information came from the lenders themselves such as Aviva and More 2 Life. These lenders could see the move forward was for the greater good and so were happy to share where they could.

All the data, mixed with passion to succeed made this a “no brainer” of a decision and a wonderful place to start on a road forward for the Standards in general.

As said initially we believe that very quickly 2 or 3 more standards can be added to the voluntary repayments one and we will be working hard to make this happen with the Equity Release Council.

So, to all of you out there that want to make a difference within our industry, we say you can – with the right influence and support, momentous change for the better is possible. Contact us today, to see how we can help you.

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