Who are the Equity Release Council (ERC)?
Set up in 1991, the Equity Release Council is an independent organisation focused on protecting the rights of equity release customers in the UK. It champions honesty and fair treatment, as well as driving healthy competition and innovation in the market. The result is greater choice and flexibility for those considering equity release, with the added reassurance that their best interests are protected.
What does the Equity Release Council do?
The Council informs people about equity release, and ensures their rights are safeguarded through a set of standards and principles. These apply to the products themselves, and the support offered to customers.
Taking out equity release means getting financial advice, and the ERC can help here too. On their site you can match up with an adviser that’s agreed to stick to the Council rules. So, you can be confident you won’t be pushed to take out a product if it doesn’t meet your needs.
Who can be a member of the Equity Release Council?
Advisers, solicitors and providers can all become members. Organisations with an interest in the UK equity release market can also join as associates and affiliates, but most customers won’t deal with them directly.
Aviva are a member of the Council as an equity release provider, and we’re committed to upholding the same high standards for our customers.
What are the Equity Release Council standards?
You can view the Equity Release Council standards on their website. Their purpose is to make sure customers can take out a product knowing it’s safe and reliable, and that their rights as homeowners are protected.
ERC members can only tell you a product meets these standards if it meets all of them. Otherwise, they’ll need to tell you where and why they aren’t met and explain what the risks are.
What are the Equity Release Council principles?
As well as complying with all Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidelines, members must uphold the Council’s key principles. They’re designed to promote:
- confidence in equity release products
- fair treatment of customers
- speedy resolution of any conflicts of interest
- customer support from sale until the product ends.
Guiding customers to the right outcomes
As a minimum, Council members must maintain the ERC standards and principles for customers. This means:
- matching people with the best products and services for them, both in terms of their needs and budget
- providing additional support to people in vulnerable situations
- ensuring customers can live in their own home for as long as they want, or move to another suitable property if they wish
- making sure customers understand their rights and responsibilities throughout the life of the product.
How do I get in touch with the Equity Release Council?
Here you will be able to find their standards and principles outlined in full, be able to seek independent advice and check which providers are members.