The Equity Release Council will discuss ‘name issue’

Ryan Bembridge

January 24, 2018

The Equity Release Council will discuss whether it should rebrand with a name encompassing the whole of later life lending, chairman David Burrowes (pictured) has confirmed.

Three industry stalwarts have called on the council to rebrand, arguing that it would promote the comparison of lifetime and interest-only mortgages.

Burrowes, who took over as chairman in December, said: “The name issue has been identified and there is a discussion to have about what one calls the council.

“We’ve had a record-breaking year [£3.06bn of lending in 2017] and we want to lead discussions in later life lending, which covers all kinds of mortgages.

“If that evolves into a name change then so be it.”

However he clarified that a potential name change isn’t his primary focus; more important is making sure the council’s standards are fit for purpose.

Providers singed up with the Equity Release Council have protections built into their products such as a no negative equity guarantee, which means the debt can never exceed the overall value of the property.

Burrowes argued that customers are currently reassured as to the level of protections they will have when products are adorned with the Equity Release Council logo.

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager of John Charcol, Keith Barber, director of business development at Family Building Society, and Steve Cox, business development manager for Hodge Lifetime, all argued the council should consider changing its name.

Boulger went further, calling on the Financial Conduct Authority to step in to eliminate the term ‘equity release’ in favour of ‘lifetime mortgage’.

However Dean Mirfin, director of Key Retirement Solution, argued that changing the name to the ‘Later Life Council’ would make its remit overly ambiguous.

The Equity Release Council’s previous chairman Nigel Waterson, who like Burrowes is a former Tory MP, stepped down at the end of last year.

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