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
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.
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
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