Safe Home Income Plans
was abit smaller than the last meeting on the retail distribution review but actually alot more constructive.
The modest attendance was partly my fault as I was daft enough not to realise when I arranged the meeting months ago that 11am on 11 November was not the smartest time to hold a meeting at Westminster. This was compounded by the decision of both Houses of Parliament not to start sittings that day until mid-afternoon with prime Minister's Questions pushed back from 12 noon to 3pm.
Anyway, those that came took the opportunity of engaging Andrea Rozario from SHIP in an in-depth discussion, the key points of which are covered in the notes from the meeting APPG - note of meeting_SHIP_121109.pdf
One point that surprised me abit was SHIP's fear of the Financial Services Authority's mortgage market review and the suggestion that is in the air that we might see more product regulation in the future, a course favoured by many in the European Union who do not believe that regulating the sales process works. SHIP has a strong self-regulatory ethic and imposes standards on its members that could be easily aligned with a new FSA product focussed regime. It should be working hard to persuade the FSA that adopting these for the rest of the market and making them stick would be a big step forward for consumer protection. If it could get this sort of endorsement from the FSA then the equity release market could start having some serious conversations with with local authorities about offering its products as an option when talking to people about financing care arrangements. At the moment, most local authorities are still suspicious of home income plans after the problems that beset the market some years ago. An FSA 'kitemark' could do wonders for breaking down that barrier.
All in all, it was a worthwhile session that will probably lead to further discussions with the group.