It’s reassuring to know that the companies selling pensions and annuities are regulated. Two governing bodies are involved – The Pensions Regulator, and the Financial Conduct Authority. The Equity Release Council is an industry body that promotes good practice and insists on safeguards to ensure equity release products are safe and accessible.
Who governs the financial services industry in the UK?
Here in the UK, it’s the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that governs the financial services industry. Previously known as the Financial Services Authority, the FCA’s aim is to protect you, the consumer.
At the same time, the FCA is promoting healthy competition between financial services providers – which helps bring down the costs of both the products those providers sell and the services they provide – and keeping the industry stable.
The FCA makes rules, investigates problems, holds records about people and providers that are authorised to work in the financial services industry, and works hard on consumers’ behalves to make sure it’s relatively easy to access and use financial products and services.
What is The Pensions Regulator?
The Pensions Regulator is a statutory organisation (set up in 2005, under the close direction of the Government), which specifically looks into and looks after the interests of consumers where the buying and selling of pension products is involved. It works with pension fund trustees, employers, employees, pensions specialists, business advisers and the general public – taking action where it’s needed to reduce the risks associated with pension schemes and members’ benefits.
How does The Equity Release Council protect homeowners?
The Equity Release Council is supported by the leading providers of equity release and was created to promote safe schemes and products and to safeguard the interests of homeowners. Just Retirement Limited and Just Retirement Money Limited are both members of the Equity Release Council.
Each member of the Council that provides equity release has to abide by a statement of principles. This statement of principles offers you peace of mind, and means you can use equity release products in confidence knowing that you will be able to remain in your home for the rest of your life or until you enter long-term care.
All Equity Release Council members also give consumers a no negative equity guarantee, meaning that no matter what happens to the housing market, you will never owe more than your home is actually worth.
So what does The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) do?
Sometimes confused with the financial services company of a similar name, The PRA is part of the Bank of England. It’s responsible for the prudential (careful) regulation and supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms.