Greater consumer protection in the equity release market now on the horizon Norwich Union

Article date: 20 December 2002

Norwich Union was very pleased this week to hear the Governmentacknowledge in the Pensions Green Paper that:-

  • As property ownership increases, equity in housing is likelyto play a growing role in providing income for pensioners,
  • It is to look at options to create a level playing field forthe regulation of equity release and home reversion plans toprotect consumers and make the market work better.

It is very good news that the Government shares NorwichUnion’s view that we need to ensure that the WHOLE equityrelease market is effectively regulated, including reversionschemes, and that it is vital that consumers understand theimplications and risks of the deal.

Commenting, Paul Stokes, Head of Marketing for Norwich UnionEquity Release, said:
“Norwich Union conducted research this year to establishconsumer understanding of the various types of equity releaseschemes. Whilst awareness of equity release has significantlyincreased, consumer understanding of the different products is verylow and many are confused by the differences between mortgage andreversion schemes. It is because of this that we have been arguingthat all forms of equity release should be brought within the scopeof regulation.

Greater consumer protection in the equity release marketnow on the horizon – Norwich Union

“The Treasury has clearly listened to the arguments thatwe have made regarding the consumer benefits that would result fromwider regulation, and has now publicly stated that it is theirintention to ensure that there is a level playing field for thewhole of the market, including home reversion schemes. Elderlycustomers are clearly more vulnerable, so it is good news that theywill be better served and better protected in the future,regardless of which company they do business with.”


Notes for Editors

With home reversion schemes, customers sell all or part of theirhome for a lump sum while continuing to live in it. Norwich Uniondoes not offer such schemes.

With Norwich Union’s equity release products, customersstill own their own home, they are guaranteed occupancy of theirhome in their lifetime, may move house if they need to, and willnever owe more than their property is worth because of a ‘nonegative equity guarantee’.

Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. It is theUK’s largest provider of life, pensions and investmentproducts and one of the leading IFA providers. IFAs provide around75% of the company’s long-term savings business.

Norwich Union has strategic alliances with building societiesand other leading UK brand names including Tesco Personal Financeand The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

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Press office contacts:

  Out of hours  
James Evans, Norwich Union Life08703 66 68 7807790 487105 
Ian Beggs, Norwich Union Life08703 66 68 7107790 487533
Louise Goffee, Norwich Union Life08703 66 68 7007810 057362

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