The MFSA has published for consultation new conduct of business rules that are intended to regulate the Equity Release Financial Products. This product provides a solution for elderly home owners enabling them to enjoy retirement in their own home while receiving income earned from the future sale of the residential property to a bank or financial institution.
While the applicable Regulations will come into force on 1st September 2019, in view that this product shall be offered to pensioners, the MFSA felt the need to supplement these Regulations with specific Conduct of Business Rules. These Rules include registration requirements for credit and financial institutions intending to provide this product, their sales practices, record keeping, information provided to customers, and complaints handling. The MFSA seeks to ensure that any prospective customer considering to enter into such a transaction is able to make an informed decision and is aware of how to submit a complaint in case where the consumer is unsatisfied with the service being provided by the credit or financial institutions.
The MFSA will be consulting with the industry and general public on these rules, and today, it has issued the first of five Chapters for feedback. This chapter will focus on registration requirements and proposes that banks and financial institutions intending to provide this product will need to register with the MFSA before such entity starts offering this product.
Entities already offering this product will have a transitional period of one year to come into line with the requirements set out in the Rules and Regulations. Chapter 1 also specifies the knowledge and experience requirements for staff offering Equity Release Financial Products to consumers.