The Equity Release Council has appointed Donna Bathgate as its new chief operating officer (COO).
She will begin her new role in October 2013.
She was formerly head of marketing operations at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), where she was responsible for a number of professional body’s major strategic projects.
Bathgate begun her career in the finance services sector with equity release provider LV= where she was regional customer service manager for the South East.
She also spent time with the Society of Mortgage Professionals and was instrumental in the creation of the Personal Finance Society, overseeing the operational aspects of the merger between the Life Insurance Association (LIA) and the Society of Financial Advisers (SOFA).
The Council says her appointment will strengthen its team at a time when the equity release market is experiencing considerable growth. Increasing activity in the first six months of 2013 makes the year to date the most successful since 2009 in terms of the total value of plans agreed: putting the industry on course to agree £1bn worth of equity release plans this year for the first time since 2008.
Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council, said: “I am delighted to welcome Donna to the Equity Release Council at a time when it is growing in both its influence and reach. She brings valuable expertise from her background in mortgages, property and financial services, and I am confident she will embrace the challenges that face us going forward.
“The Council has grown from a dozen members to approaching 300 in a short time, and we speak for 90% of the sector. Our ambition is to continue to improve how we operate to support the industry as it grows. Donna’s project management experience will help to coordinate a collective push that puts equity release at the forefront of people’s retirement planning agenda.”
Bathgate said: “I am arriving at an exciting time for the Equity Release Council and am very much looking forward to the challenge of supporting the organisation and its members to best address people’s financial needs in later life.”