Reverse mortgage body pleads for government intervention

by Adam Smith18 Jul 2014
An industry lobby has called on the government to step up its support of the reverse mortgage market as Australia's population ages.

Equity Release OZ has pointed to the interim report released by the Financial System Inquiry, saying that the report addressed equity release only briefly. Equity OZ chief executive Kevin Conlon said the report poses the "limited" question of what current regulations might impede the development of equity release products. But Conlon said the market needs much more than the removal of regulations.

“At the time of the Global Financial Crisis and as chief executive of the peak industry body, I warned the government that reverse mortgage providers would not survive without short-term government intervention," Conlon said.

Conlon said the market had now contracted "from a large and diverse group" to just five lenders. He urged the FSI to better address the reverse mortgage market in its second round of industry consultations, and claimed government and regulators played an important role in encouraging providers such as superannuation companies to enter the equity release market.

“An effective and ethical equity release market needs to emerge in Australia, so that senior Australians will have the ability to tap into the stored wealth of their home in order to live well in retirement and importantly, stay in their home,” Conlon said.