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Regulators will be less intrusive if equity release ‘keeps house in order’ – Pond

  • 23/05/2024
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Regulators will be less intrusive if equity release ‘keeps house in order’ – Pond
Tougher regulation of financial services will not necessarily follow a change of government if the equity release sector continues to “keep its house in order”, said Chris Pond of the Equity Release Council (ERC).

Speaking at the Equity Release Council Summit, Pond, a former pensions minister and chair of the council’s consumer council, said: “There is understandable anxiety that statutory regulation of financial services may become more burdensome with a change of administration on July 5.

“I talk about administration because, whether or not it’s a change of governing party, we will nevertheless have a new range of ministers, officials, from whichever party holds the House of Commons majority. But I don’t think it’s inevitable that we should have more arduous regulation.”

Pond’s recent discussions with regulators signified a lack of enthusiasm to heap regulation onto the later life lending market.

He was told that if the equity release sector could reassure them it would “keep its house in order” and the sector ensures it will provide the best outcomes for consumers, the regulators can be “less intrusive”.

Addressing an audience of close to 300 delegates in Westminster, Pond said that the best way to mitigate the risk of further increased intervention was to demonstrate that tougher statutory rules are unnecessary in a sector that already effectively regulates itself.

He added: “I think it’s fair to say [the standards] are now recognised by regulators, by policymakers and by many in the consumer community as being the gold standard for property-based lending in later life.”

However, Pond said that, following the introduction of Consumer Duty, the council’s standards must continue to evolve.

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