ERIC is regulated, as are the products on which it advises. Furthermore, it has introduced a further safeguard by dealing only with providers who are members of Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP) or those offering similar safeguards. There are a number of bodies to help ensure that you are protected if you take out an Equity Release plan.
Equity Release Council
This is a trade body formally known as SHIP. It is dedicated to the protection of plan holders and the promotion of Equity Release plans. The ERC incorporated the SHIP standards and gives you a number of guarantees:
The Council of Mortgage Lenders
The Council of Mortgage Lenders is the trade association for mortgage lenders operating in the UK. Their members are banks, building societies and other mortgage lenders. The Council helps to develop mortgage lending policy and issues guidance on best practice for those working within the industry.
The Financial Conduct Authority
This is a statutory body with legal enforcement powers. It is responsible for the regulation of mortgage advice (this includes Lifetime Mortgages) and Home Reversion Plans. Website
Your solicitor should explain the effect the plan will have on the value of your estate. It is entirely your choice which solicitor acts for you. Solicitors with experience of Equity Release plans:
The Equity Release Information Centre has a list of solicitors who are all very experienced in acting for Equity Release applicants. Please note that these are not our solicitors: they are independent and regulated by the Law Society. They must act only in the interests of their clients. The client is you.
All the solicitors on our ‘panel’ are members of the Equity Release Solicitors’ Alliance (ERSA). This means that their fees will be very competitive and because they are specialists, they can often process completions more quickly. Member firms have many years of experience. ERSA offers an independent fixed fee service, but the fee will be waived if the case does not complete.
The Financial Ombudsman Service
This is a government regulatory body set up to resolve disputes between financial businesses and their customers. If they decide that someone has been treated unfairly then they have legal powers to put things right. Website
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