Bower Retirement Services Joins The Equity Release Council

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Bower Retirement Services has become one of the first equity release advisory firms to be accepted as a member of The Equity Release Council

Bower Retirement Services is pleased to announce it has been accepted as a member of The Equity Release Council, further qualifying its status as an impartial financial services specialist, helping clients with equity release on their home.

Re-launched in May of this year, The Equity Release Council was formerly known as Safe Home Income Plans (“SHIP”), and was established by the main equity release providers to look after the interests of consumers entering into equity release plans.

At the same time, the Council’s membership criteria was extended to include specialist equity release advisers and other participants having relevant involvement in the equity release sector (for example, solicitors and surveyors).

Bower has always supported the aims of SHIP and the associated safeguards which membership offers to elderly homeowners, such as its commitment to impartial financial advice and practical assistance through facilities such as its free equity release calculator. The SHIP Code of Conduct gives an assurance that SHIP endorsed equity release plans will provide:

1.    The right to remain in the property for life
2.    Provide customers with fair, simple and complete presentations of their plans
3.    The right to move the plan to another suitable property without any financial penalty
4.    The right to an independent solicitor of the clients' choice
5.    Provide an Equity Release Council certificate, signed by the solicitor
6.    A No Negative Equity Guarantee, this means customers will never owe more than the value of their home and no debt will ever be left to the estate

The Equity Release Council will incorporate and strengthen SHIP standards. Bower, winners of three recent Equity Release Awards sponsored by SHIP for the quality of their specialist financial advice, is delighted to have been accepted as a member of the Council at the early stages of its development.

SHIP, originally established in 1991, has also been renamed as The Equity Release Council in order to give renewed momentum to the enhancement of consumer awareness about equity release, and to reinforce the role of equity release plans as mainstream products in the retirement market.

The team at Bower are looking forward to working with the other members of the Council to support these objectives and to promote higher levels of consumer protection within the equity release sector.

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Paul McDermott
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