What is the Equity Release Council and what does it do?

Zorica Lončar

If you’re considering taking out an equity release policy, one name you absolutely need to know is the Equity Release Council (ERC).

But what is the ERC, what does it do and how can it help homeowners looking to unlock value from their homes? We’ll answer all of these questions right here in this guide.

And remember, if you’re accessing equity release in another country, you can use Wise to save. With a Wise multi-currency account, you can receive lump sum and other payments from equity release in the local currency. This avoids bank fees and exchange rate mark-ups, as you can convert currency using Wise’s mid-market exchange rate.

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But more on this later. Let’s get back to the Equity Release Council.

What is the Equity Release Council?

The Equity Release Council is an organisation set up to promote safe, fairly managed equity release products. The ERC aims to safeguard the interests of homeowners and boost public confidence in equity release.

Established in 1991¹, this consumer-centric trade body works closely with the UK government to promote high standards of conduct and best practice among equity release providers.

ERC members and the code of principles

Members who sign up to the ERC must abide by its code of principles, which includes²:

  • Ensuring that their actions promote public confidence in equity release
  • Quickly identifying and fairly managing any conflicts of interest
  • Seeking to deliver suitable outcomes for customers - throughout the whole life of equity release products
  • Acting in good faith at all times
  • Treating customers fairly and putting the best interests of customers first
  • Offering customers products and services that best suit their needs, at a fair price
  • Providing support to customers with financial, mental or physical vulnerabilities
  • Helping customers to understand their rights and responsibilities.

How can the Equity Release Council help me?

If you’re weighing up whether to take out an equity release policy, the ERC should be your first port of call. You can use the Equity Release Council website to find out more about the organisation, and for guidance and information about equity release itself.

Crucially, you can also use the ERC website to find an equity release provider who is a registered member. This will give you the peace of mind that the provider will adhere to the code of principles listed above, and that your rights and needs will be protected.

Once you have an equity release plan, the ERC can also be of service if you encounter any issues with one of its members. If you’ve followed your provider’s complaints procedure but an acceptable resolution can’t be found, you can contact the Equity Release Council for assistance³.

The ERC has its own free complaints service, and you can also call up and speak to an advisor if you have any questions about anything else.

Accessing equity release abroad? Save money with a multi-currency Wise account

If you’re unlocking value from an overseas property (or one in the UK if you live abroad), you’ll need to find the most cost-effective way to receive your payments as they cross international borders.

This is where Wise comes in. Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can receive a lump sum or regular payments in the local currency, avoiding the high fees and poor exchange rates offered by banks.

Once your payment lands in your Wise account, you can convert it for just a tiny fee using the real, mid-market exchange rate.

Join Wise and start saving today

So, that’s all you need to know about the Equity Release Council (ERC). To find a member or get information on equity release, have a browse on their website.

Sources used for this article:

  1. Just Adviser - the Equity Release Council
  2. Equity Release Council - statement of principles
  3. Equity Release Council - complaints

Sources checked on 17th May-2021.

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