Equity release could be boosted with a Conservative win

19 November 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

The Conservatives have said that if they come to power they will be keen to work with the equity release industry to raise awareness of its potential for providing funding in retirement.

Nigel Waterson MP, Shadow Minister for Pensions said at a debate on retirement planning last week that the Conservatives would like to raise levels of consumer understanding of equity release as a legitimate and relevant retirement vehicle.

Speaking at the debate, which was hosted by retirement solutions specialists Just Retirement, Mr Waterson admitted that equity release has been help back in recent years due to gaining a bad reputation from disreputable practices by certain firms in the past.

"There is a lack of understanding of equity release products and the safeguards in place to protect consumers" he noted, adding, "We would want to work with the industry to bolster the product and provide consumers with additional vehicles to fund longer periods of retirement as life expectancy increases"

The industry's image needs improving, he said, so that it can become part of the wider process of planning for retirement, and added that the Conservative Party would be interested in addressing this.

Speaking on the same occasion, Andrea Rozario, director general of equity release trade body SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans), commented: "It is very encouraging to see that the official opposition and, quite possibly, the next government, has recognised the important role that equity release has to play in funding people's retirement. This is yet further evidence that equity release needs to be recognised as a viable option in retirement."

Commenting on Mr Waterson's remarks, Ms Rozario added "We urge all parties to take this stance."

Scott Fulton, head of external relations at Just Retirement, added: "Longevity and lack of financial planning mean many pensioners are inadequately financed for their retirement, options like equity release will increasingly become a necessary part of the retirement mix. Mr Waterson's endorsement of the equity release market should go a long way in helping pensioners bolster their income in retirement."

In her speech yesterday, the Queen also highlighted that more awareness is necessary to make people more aware of the various ways in which they could fund their retirement.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd

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