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LV= on the Safe Home Income Plans discussion paper

Press release: 27/07/2009

Vanessa Owen, LV= head of equity release comments on the discussion paper issued today by SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans):

"The role SHIP has played as a trade association for regulated equity release providers in the UK over the last 18 years has been vital, and should not be underestimated. The code it has developed has been central to ensuring the protection and peace of mind of consumers who have purchased SHIP compliant lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. The suggestions put forward in the paper are far reaching and clearly call on the FSA, government, consumer bodies and intermediaries to fully support the equity release market. However, we believe that if the market is to truly evolve and be in a position to tackle the needs of its growing diverse customer base, then SHIP as a body needs to evolve with it. LV= believes this means extending the protection offered and using the SHIP brand to provide reassurance not just on product features but also enabling advisers to become SHIP approved themselves as this would help reassure consumers that they fully understand the market. The end benefit would be even greater protection for consumers.

“The discussion paper also highlights the potential risks of gearing all equity release products to those on low income and who are older and vulnerable. Although SHIP plays an important role in safeguarding these consumers, gearing all products towards this group could eventually make the market unsustainable in the long term. What we would like to see is:

  • The SHIP Code of Practice evolved to allow for greater flexibility in designing products that meet the needs of consumers.

  • Any product rating devised to recognise the information needs of consumers with credit given to those products with clear and easily comprehensible terms.

  • Security of Tenure to remain sacrosanct for ‘Gold’ plated products.

  • The inclusion of advisory firms and solicitors practices within SHIP and excellence in consumer protection in these areas to be able to be recognised by carrying the SHIP brand.

“There is no doubt that the changing pensions landscape in the UK will mean that more people over the coming years will look to equity release as a viable option to support them in their retirement. We will be fully engaging with SHIP on this paper, and we anticipate that other SHIP members will be active participates in this debate, which will help shape the future of the regulated equity release market.”


LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs more than 3,800 people, serves more than 3.5 million customers and members, and manages around £7bn on their behalf. We are also the UK's largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Yearbook 2006/2007, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and entered on the Financial Services Authority Register No. 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.