0 Bower welcome Retirement Advantage By The Bower Team / In Company News Retirement specialist MGM Advantage and Stonehaven have merged to form a new brand – Retirement Advantage. This merger is big news for the equity release market as it signals yet more outside interest in this ever-growing market. The creation of Retirement Advantage comes in the wake of the recent announcement that Legal & General have joined the equity release market following their acquisition of New Life Home Finance. The arrival of well-known high street lenders is nothing but good news for consumers; products should become more innovative as competition between the big names intensifies. The equity release market has already seen interest rates drop towards record lows, loan-to-values increase across the market and new and exciting products come to the fore in this year alone. What’s more, with Stonehaven bolstering their position with this merger, and Legal & General joining the market, consumers will be provided with more of what they want and more of what they need: choice. Equity release is becoming a major force in retirement planning, and with the over-60 demographic controlling some £1.3tn in housing wealth, it is unsurprising that Retirement Advantage has been created at this time. As the equity release market continues to flourish and providers – both new and old – enhance their positions, the reputation of equity release will continue to be enhanced and the products, advice and services that are provided industry-wide should also continue to improve. Geoff Charles, CEO of Bower, adds: The equity release industry is becoming a formidable player in the retirement planning arena. Following the records set in 2014, those outside our industry are now well aware of the value of equity release in retirement planning. The merger of MGM and Stonehaven is fantastic news for both advisers and customers, and will, I believe, signal the start of a trend in which more and more outside businesses and providers enter this exciting and evolving market.