Equity release trade body a potential damp squib

Ramesh Sharma

April 29, 2006

Tony Jones, managing director at Pink Home Loans, expressed his concerns that an equity release trade body may struggle with funding and emphasisied the difficulty in setting up such a body.

He said: “It may be an idea for the future but I believe the idea at the moment is a non-starter. I would question how many would join such a body. I can’t see it getting the numbers for it to work financially as the costs involved will be large. If it doesn’t get enough members it could potentially do more harm than good.

“I’m happy to be involved in the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries’ (AMI) equity release working party, which is doing a good job. Equity release is a strong market and it is important to raise standards within this sector.”

AMI has launched a working party on equity release, in a bid to educate brokers, advise on product design and address policy concerns.

Mehrdad Yousefi, head of intermediary mortgages at Alliance & Leicester, commented: “Equity release has the potential to grow rapidly in the future. However, until we see a greater number of brokers and lenders operating in this market, it’s too early to suggest a separate trade body is going to add value.”

However, Mark Neal, managing director at Economic Lifestyle, said: “We would be interested and from the limited stuff I’ve seen it sounds a strong idea. We currently have SHIP but this is more like a forum or a sounding board.”

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