SHIP has undergone an extensive engagement process to ensure it continues to represent the needs of the equity release industry in the best possible way. Helen Morrissey asks director-general Andrea Rozario what these changes mean.
Helen Morrissey: SHIP has undergone an extensive engagement process with the equity release industry over the past year. What have been the results of this?
Andrea Rozario: Basically over the last year we have undertaken an internal review of SHIP as well as talking to other stakeholders about the possibility of expanding the remit of SHIP beyond that of equity release providers. We've been asking people whether they think it is possible and what would such a process involve. During the course of the consultation we did come to understand that people did want change and we have worked on several different iterations of on how the new structure could work - who will be involved, how will it work and what are we putting in place? I think we've been able to come up with something that is in line with the thinking of the majority of people. We are hoping to be able to implement this new structure at some point around the end of Q1 or the beginning of Q2. We will ensure that in the meantime we are keeping everyone up to date with what's going on.
Helen Morrissey: So what will be the main aim of the new look organisation?
Andrea Rozario: We want SHIP to appeal to a wider audience and include professionals such as advisers, solicitors, surveyors and consultants within the organisation. We will be operating a waiting list of potential new members. I think the main thing it to draw together people in the industry who are committed to growing the equity release market safely and clearly there is a lot that needs to be done. We will be engaging in PR work as well as lobbying government to make sure equity release is highlighted in retirement debate. We want equity release to be seen as a logical option for retirees rather than a product of last resort.
Helen Morrissey: How has news of the consultation been greeted by people in the industry?
Andrea Rozario: The industry has reacted to the news very positively and I've been incredibly encouraged by the feedback I've been receiving from people. I think people in the industry understand that this is a good thing to do and that we need to work together to make sure the equity release industry speaks with one voice. I also think that there is a certain kudos attached to the SHIP brand and people are happy to get involved in this to build on the good work that has already been done.
Helen Morrissey: Did anything about the consultation surprise you?
Andrea Rozario: I think the biggest surprise has been how enthusiastic people were and this goes pretty much across the board. We had feedback not just from advisers and solicitors but we also had positive comments from consultants and surveyors too. There is a real overwhelming desire for change and while we may not always agree with each other there is a common goal in place that everyone wants to reach.
Helen Morrissey: So what happens now?
Andrea Rozario: We've got a lot of work ahead of us if we are to launch in Q1/Q2 and a lot of it needs to be done behind the scenes. We need to make sure that we have adequate and sustainable resources in place to help us meet our goal.
We would encourage people to get in touch with us if they want to be involved in the new organisation. We will be operating a waiting list and there will be an application process that needs to be completed as standards will be at the heart of what we do. Those with an interest in getting involved should email
Andrea Rozario is director-general of SHIP
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