Equity Release Advice in the EU

This week saw equity release enter European Union (EU) debate in Brussels. The European Pensions and Property Asset Release Group (EPPARG) engaged key EU stakeholders, industry representatives and academics in a discussion to investigate potential growth of innovative solutions including home equity release across Europe.

The talks included a major new study by consulting firm Towers Watson into the exorbitant costs of providing for our ageing population. Traditional pension methods are unable to cope, but equity release could provide a potential solution according to the report. Across Europe there is an estimated €20bn available to be released from equity release products each year. When used effectively with advice from specialist experts, equity release has the capacity to ease the burden of a smaller working population paying for a growing number of retirees. It can provide immediate aid to pensioners who have invested in buying their own home, but are facing a shortfall in their pension. To go one step further, the EPPARG hope equity release can also encourage local economies, alleviating pressure on State provided benefits.

However, effectively delivering equity release across Europe will require close collaboration between industry experts, European institutions and academics to ensure the same high standards enjoyed in the UK are developed. Equity release is a complex process and a substantial undertaking for any customer. Specialist advisers are in the best position to ensure the public have a clear understanding of their options.

As ERSA research recently discovered, industry organisations have a crucial role to play in improving consumer understanding: the importance of trade organisations and grouping specialists under a banner is key to making quality advice easily recognisable and visible to potential equity release customers. This should be the top priority if greater use of equity release across Europe is to be realised. 

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