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Navigating the Minefield of Equity Release Products for Elders

Nelson Goh

(2014) 26 SAcLJ 461

It is widely accepted that Singapore will face a substantial increase in elders in the coming decades. Government policies on pension and housing have resulted in a high proportion of asset-rich but cash-poor elders. In response to similar situations, markets in Australia and the UK have introduced equity release products. These financial products allow the value of the property to be monetised, thereby providing liquidity to elders during their silver years. Yet, elders are a vulnerable class of consumers, and to deal with the legal issues arising in relation to equity release products, Australia has responded by introducing legislative and regulatory protection, and the UK, with some amount of regulatory oversight, has left it to self-regulatory bodies. This article seeks to analyse the legal issues in relation to such products and compare the current legal and regulatory framework in Singapore with that in Australia and the UK.