Move to open up Ship membership could lead to innovation

Equity-release advisers believe trade body Safe Home Income Plan’s decision to open up its membership to intermediaries will lead to more product innovation in the sector.

In June, Ship set up a committee, chaired by Paul Smee, who is now Council of Mortgage Lenders director general, to look at the possibility of branching out to become a trade body for the industry rather than just for product providers.

Last week, Ship director general Andrea Rozario confirmed the trade body will open up its membership to include advisers, solicitors and other key stakeholders.
Bower Retirement Services equity release planner Simon Chalk says: “We sit at the sharp end and know precisely what will suit our customers, so, between us, I think we can work together and this should lead to some exciting new product developments.”

Equity Release Advice managing partner Stuart Wilson says: “It will be a challenge to unite everybody’s different interests but because of the specialist nature of the sector, I think it needs a single voice and Ship is the logical voice to have.

“It would be a natural conclusion that there will be elements of product innovation because of the tighter communication flow.”

EquityCare chief executive Tim Eadon says: “A single voice will make a massive difference in the equity-release sector. It is something it really needs.”