The Equity Release Council has signed up 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.
Sarah Barlow, Sarah Barlow Financial Solutions Limited, said: “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 (pictured), 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.”
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 ageing.
The milestone comes at a time when equity release is experiencing steady growth. The start of 2019 saw £936m being unlocked from people’s homes, making Q1 the busiest first quarter on record.
Over the past year Jim Boyd has been appointed as its first chief executive officer, Chris Fay was hired as communications manager and the opening of a new head office in the City of London.
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.
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 finances.