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Edmans urges Nationwide to enter equity release

Safe Home Income Plans chairman Laurie Edmans is calling on Nationwide to enter the equity-release market.

The former Aegon stalwart believes the society’s ethical background would help the market build a reputation with the public although he understands its reticence about going into the sector.

Earlier this year, Nationwide chief executive Philip Williamson said the firm was looking at entering the market but not just yet because of a fear that equity release could become the next misselling scandal.

Last week, the FSA attacked poor advice standards in its latest mystery-shopping exercise although it said providers’ standards are improving.

Edmans, who took on the role at Ship at the start of this month, says: “I thought the same as Nationwide when I looked at doing this job. Nationwide would be the ideal company as its values are so much in tune. But they are the white knights of the market so it will be more difficult for them. There are less difficult challenges than moving into equity release but it does not mean that it is not a good product.”

Ship chief executive Jon King has also dismissed claims by Which? that the market needs a not-for-profit scheme to aid consumer due to high prices in the market, saying it would take a fundamental shift in the market.

Which? is in talks with the Government about getting support for a scheme to be run by a charity or similar organisation after Westminster ruled out running any scheme itself.

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