SEQUAL appoints new chair

The peak industry body for providers of equity release products for older Australians has announced the appointment of a new chairman.

Peter Szabo takes to the role with more than 40 years’ experience behind him, effective immediately.

In his new position, Mr Szabo replaces long-serving chairman John Thomas who will move to the role of deputy chairman of the board and continue to provide support for consumers.

Mr Thomas said Mr Szabo’s appointment reflects his continued commitment to the development and innovation of the equity release market.

“Mr Szabo’s commitment to senior’s equity release for older home owners manifested in the establishment of Homesafe Solutions Pty Ltd in 2005, a partnership with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd, to enable older home owners to access the equity in their homes by selling a share of the future sale proceeds of their homes,” Mr Thomas said.

“In my opinion, Mr Szabo is the right person to now lead SEQUAL.”

Mr Szabo has already made ground work in his new role as chairman, responding to a recent research paper developed by the Productivity Commission.

In the Housing Decisions of Older Australians paper, the Productivity Commission highlighted the benefit of older Australians accessing some of their housing wealth.

“It is extremely pleasing that a body such as the Productivity Commission has acknowledged that the family home is the ‘third bucket’ of the retirement income system and that the size of this ‘bucket’ at about $1 trillion dwarfs the size of the superannuation ‘bucket’ at about $300-$400 billion,” Mr Szabo said, commenting on the paper.

“The availability of viable solutions to access senior’s housing wealth is an issue for Australia as a whole and more importantly for individual senior Australian home owners.

“Seniors have a right to stay in their homes if they so choose and if they need additional funding for a dignified retirement, they should be able to access the equity in their homes.”

[Related: Penalised lender responds to ASIC action]

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Emma Ryan

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