Debt Advice Policy and Procedure

Introduction

 

Our Debt Advice Policy and Procedure aims to ensure that we, adhere to our compliance obligations in accordance with Principles 1, 2, 6, 7 & 9 and CONC 8, namely CONC 8.3.2, CONC 8.3.4, CONC 8.3.6, CONC 8.3.6A, CONC 8.3.7 ‘Precontract and Advice Requirements’, 

 

Our Debt Advice Policy and Procedure sets out the regulatory principles that underpin our debt advice process. We have a high-level obligation to: treat our clients fairly; conduct our business with due skill, care and diligence; implement effective risk management systems and controls; and to ensure all communications with clients are clear, fair and not misleading.

 

 

address Suite 16f, The Beehive, Lions Drive, Lions Dr, Blackburn BB1 2QS

 

company registration 13722147

 

IVA Help Ltd are an appointed representative of Dee Valley Finance Limited, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. IVA Help Ltd FCA reg no: 987931

 

Our data controller is David Griffiths

 

The information we collect from you depends on the product or service you apply for, or the service that we provide to you. We will only collect information that we actually need, or where we’re required to collect the information to enable us to perform our legal, regulatory or contractual obligations necessary to provide you with the products or services, or where we have your permission.

This will likely include the collection of:

      • your personal details (e.g. name, date of birth)
      • address details
      • contact details (e.g. phone number, email)
      • special personal information* (e.g. health information)
      • financial information
      • employment information
      • information on how you use our website(s) and products and services

Special personal information

Data protection law defines some personal information as “special categories of data”. This includes information about physical or mental health, sexual life, religious beliefs, race or ethnic origin, political opinions, trade union membership or biometric data. This information may be necessary to collect when understanding the reason for your financial circumstances, or where it may help us to provide a better service to you. For example, a period of ill health could have caused you to fall behind with your regular payments to your creditors.

Where we need to collect and process this type of data about you, by providing this information to us you give your explicit consent for us and any other third party to process this special data as set out in this privacy policy, unless we have a legal obligation to process this type of data.

Any personal information about you relating to criminal convictions or offences may only be used by us when authorised by law

 

Trusted partners we work with who data maybe shared with

Money plus group Delphian House, New Bailey St, Salford, Manchester M3 5FS

 

 

We ensure that clients are treated fairly:

 

      • By conducting an individual assessment, tailored to the needs and circumstances of the client
      • By providing advice that is tailored to the individual circumstances of the client.
      • By providing advice on all suitable debt solutions including those not provided by our firm.
      • Sourcing a variety of providers with varying DI and Debt Level requirements

 

We ensure that we conduct our debt advice process with due skill, care and diligence by:

 

      • Providing our debt advisers with ongoing training.
      • Monitoring calls and conducting client file audits.
      • Performing a quality assurance review on a percentage of advice provided.

 

We implement effective risk management systems and controls by:

 

      • Monitoring calls and conducting client file audits.
      • Implementing remedial action where applicable or necessary
      • Holding Management Meetings to discuss MI, Performance and QA.
      • Reviewing our debt advice policy on an ongoing basis.
      • Reviewing our call guidance documentation on an ongoing basis.
      • reviewing our staff remuneration structure on an ongoing basis.

 

We ensure that communications with clients are clear, fair and not misleading by:

 

      • Providing all debt advice in a durable medium where required
      • Providing balanced and fair information on each Debt Solution
      • Verifying that clients understand the debt solutions available to them, the costs,
      • risks and advantages.
      • Providing client service support to answer any of our clients’ queries.

 

Prohibited Activities

 

In providing advice, we operate a zero-tolerance approach towards:

 

      • Incorrect or misleading debt advice
      • Failure to complete a full and proper assessment of the client’s circumstances
      • Recommendations of a debt solution that is believed or suspected to be unaffordable for the client
      • Discouraging clients to seek alternative sources for debt counselling, debt adjustment and debt management services

 

Providing Impartial Information

 

We must provide our clients with a source of impartial information on the range of debt solutions available to the client, as relevant to the geographical location of the client, e.g. England, Wales, N. Ireland and Scotland. We have also documented debt solution information relevant to the geographical location which is provided to clients. This information is also available on our website.

 

circumstance Assessment

 

Prior to advising and recommending a debt solution, we must collect information with respect to clients’ individual and financial circumstances to ensure that the advice provided is in clients’ best interest and tailored to their individual circumstances. Our staff follow a set process to ensure that they gather all of the required information. We must ensure we conduct a reasonable and reliable assessment of the client’s circumstances.

 

Personal & Financial Circumstances

 

We understand that the clients personal/financial circumstances can often be varied. We should consider past, present and possible future circumstances that have affected or are likely to affect our clients. Personal and Financial Circumstances should indicate in part, more suitable avenues to explore. For example, an individual applying for bankruptcy has a negative effect on a partner’s ability to obtain credit should the partner reside in a specific European country, such as Poland.

 

When assessing personal circumstances, examples of enquiries that are made include:

 

(1) What led the client to make an enquiry (2) How debt is impacting them (3) How the client ended up in financial difficulty (3) When the financial difficulties began (4) Whether the client has previously obtained a debt solution and if so, when, which and what happened (5) Dependants (6) Marital status (7) Living arrangements (rented/mortgage) (8) Employment status (9) Geographical location

 

When assessing a client’s financial circumstances (also see next section), examples of enquiries that are made include:

 

(1) The client’s debts (2) The nature of the debts (3) Debt level (4) Creditors (5) Savings, company shares, pension plans, high-cost jewellery, antiques and valuable assets, including values where possible and whether the client is willing/able to part with any assets to satisfy debts (6) The existence of any joint debts or guarantors on debts owed (7) Whether the client has missed any payments and is in arrears or has defaulted (8) Whether the client is currently banking with any banks at which the firm is also indebted (9) Where the client has a mortgage, how much equity the client has (10) Enforcement action and creditor correspondence (11) CCJs and pending legal action (12) Gambling proclivities (13) Benefits (14) Any vehicles and the value of those vehicles and what they are needed for.

 

Income and Expenditure Assessment

 

We conduct an Accredited Income and Expenditure Assessment of the client’s expenditure, against the total monthly income of the individual. We utilise the Standard Financial Statement (SFS) in our assessment of the client’s expenditure. Our assessment must also cover any assets held by the client that are realisable, such as equity, personal assets such as vehicles, art etc.

 

When establishing clients income and expenditure, we will never:

 

      1. Amend or manipulate the expenditure by increasing, decreasing or adding new items without the client’s prior knowledge or consent
      2. Seek consent to amend expenditure that was not reflective of the client’s financial circumstances

 

Please refer to our Income and Expenditure Policy and Procedure.

 

Other Relevant Factors

 

We must ensure we account for any other relevant factors. This includes any known or reasonably foreseeable changes in the client’s circumstances. Changes to the client’s circumstances will undoubtedly have an impact upon the associated income and expenditure, and availability of the disposable income.

 

We must account for such factors for us to allocate the correct advice and recommendations. Failure to account for such changes will infringe upon our obligations regarding the best interests of our clients and our requirements to complete a full accounting of the client’s circumstances.

 

We have provided some brief examples of what ‘reasonably foreseeable changes’ comprise of (but not limited to) the below:

 

      • Change in Employment
        • Promotion
        • New Job
        • Soon to retire
      • Change in Residential Address (cross-border change)
        • England, Wales and N. Ireland
        • Scotland
        • Europe
        • International
      • Relationship Changes
        • Divorce
        • Moving out/in
        • Pregnancy
      • Benefit Payments
        • Benefit Transfers (i.e. Universal Credit Changes)
        • Reductions and Increases to benefit payments
        • Loss of benefits
      • Family Changes
        • Children moving in/out
        • Children reaching C-Tax age (potential loss of 25% c-tax reduction)
        • Loss of child-tax credits due to age brackets
        • Pregnancy
      • Contractual Changes
        • Tenancy end
        • Mobile phone/Internet contract end/renewals

 

Joint Circumstances

 

Before considering a joint Debt Management Plan, we must first assess whether a debt solution would be more suitable for each of the clients as individuals. Joint Debt is a debt that is owed by two parties together. This most commonly occurs between couples, such as husband and wife or family members. This means that both individuals may be liable for the debt and can both be pursued in full by the lender. If one individual does not contribute to their requirements to repay (for whatever reason), the other party may be pursued for the whole debt and not merely their ‘share’.

 

Common types of Joint Debt Include:

 

      1. Overdrafts
      2. Joint Bank Accounts
      3. Joint Loans
      4. Council Tax

 

In providing Joint Advice, we must consider the following:

 

      1. The difference between joint liability and contractual liability
      2. One party may not be aware of the debts of the other
      3. The impact of combining Disposable Incomes for a proposed joint solution
      4. The likely change to combined circumstances of the clients
      5. One of the individuals may be under undue influence from the other
      6. The ‘nature of the household’ as identified within any vulnerability assessments
      7. An individual solution may be more suitable to both parties

 

We understand that the following solutions are capable of satisfying joint applications (varying degrees):

 

      1. ‘inter-locking’ Individual Voluntary Arrangement
      2. ‘Joint’ Debt Management Plans
      3. Bankruptcy

 

Verification

 

Our clients may not be able to recall all required information at any given moment. We have a duty to ensure the information we receive has been queried where possible and evidenced. A sufficiently full assessment of the circumstances of the client extends to the verification of identified information. Our debt advice is only as good as the information we initially collate. Failure to take reasonable steps to verify this information is conducive to unfair and improper business practices.

 

We should query any expenditure that is seemingly too high or too low. We refer to the Common Financial Statement for these parameters. We look to evidence/verify client information through the collation of the following documents:

 

 

Verification Requirement

 

 

Verification Methods

 

Income and Expenditure Verification

 

 

Payslips

Benefit Award Correspondence

Bank statements (3 months)

Tax Returns

 

 

Creditor Verification

 

 

Creditor Account Numbers

Lender Correspondence

Debt Collection Documentation

 

 

Identity Verification

 

Passport

Driving Licence

 

 

Address Verification

 

Council Tax Bill

Tenancy Agreement

 

 

Providing Advice

 

We must provide clients with full information about our service, including advantages and disadvantages, risks and considerations of all geographically relevant debt. For a breakdown of our requirements, please see the below information.

 

Client Demographic

 

Our clients may approach our service from across the UK, whether in Scotland, England, Wales or N. Ireland.

 

The Nature of our Service

 

IVA HELP

 Limited is a Debt firm that provides advice in relation to debt, including advice in relation to debt solution products.

 

Utilising the Script

 

Due to the nature of our regulated activities, we must adhere to our script in order to provide full and complete information regarding our services and the debt solutions that are available to the client. This includes our disclosure requirements as a regulated firm. Non-adherence to the script may result in the incorrect provision of advice and expose our firm to an increased risk of failed conversions, negatively impacting the integrity of our service and the market in which we operate. Non-adherence to the script will be identified throughout our monitoring obligations.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages

 

We must ensure we provide clients with the actual or potential advantages, disadvantages, costs and risks of each option available to the client, with any associated conditions for entry and which debts will or will not be covered by each option.

 

For more information, please refer to the following documents:

 

      1. Debt Solutions (England, Wales, N. Ireland)
      2. Debt Solutions (Scotland)

 

Debt Solution Durations

 

In providing our advice to clients, we must ensure our clients are appropriately informed as to the typical or standard durations associated with each debt solution. When we provide advice on a debt solution, the suitability of the solution will also depend on the time required to satisfy the debt. We have included a breakdown of solution durations below:

 

 

Debt Solution

 

 

Contract/Solution Duration (Minimum: Maximum)

 

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

 

 

Minimum: 5 Years

Maximum: 6 Years

 

 

Protected Trust Deed (PTD)

 

 

Minimum: 4 years

 

 

Bankruptcy

 

 

12 Months

 

Administration Order (AO)

 

 

Minimum: 3 Years

 

Debt Management Plan (DMP)

 

 

Variable

Minimum: 5 Years

General Maximum: 10 Years

 

 

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

 

 

12 Months

 

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

 

 

Variable

Maximum: 10 Years

 

 

Sequestration

 

 

12 Months

 

Minimal Asset Process (MAP)

 

 

Six Months

 

Debt Consolidation

 

 

Variable

 

Costs and Fees

 

We receive remuneration from the third parties that we make introductions to. This is otherwise known as an ‘introducer fee’. Should clients be most suitable for the free sector, it is important clients are aware of the other, likely fees associated with a given debt solution.

 

We must make clear to our clients, the existence of any fees associated with a given debt solution. These are as follows:

 

 

Debt Solution

 

GEO

 

Associated Fees, Costs and Charges

 

 

Further Information

 

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA)

 

England

Wales

N. Ireland

 

Nominee Fees up to £2k

Supervisory Fees 15% of monthly DI P/M

Introducer Fees up to £700-£800

 

Factored into Disposable Income – does not come at ‘extra charge’

 

 

Bankruptcy

 

 

England

Wales

N. Ireland

 

England and Wales Application Fee £130

Deposit £550

 

Northern Ireland

Court Fee £144

Deposit £525

Solicitor Fee £7

 

Charges upon Asset Realisation:

Admin Fee £1990 or £2775

General Fee: £6000

15% of the total value of assets realised

Distribution Fee Charged Hourly for money paid out to creditors

 

 

Extra Cost to the client

 

Debt Management Plan (Paid)

 

England

Wales

N. Ireland

 

0-50% of Monthly DI Maximum

£250 introducer fee (commercial provider only)

 

 

Factored into Disposable Income – does not come at ‘extra charge’

 

 

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

 

 

England

Wales

N. Ireland

 

 

£90 Application Fee

 

Extra Cost to the client

 

Administration Order (AO)

 

 

England

Wales

N. Ireland

 

10% of the total amount paid out

£15 for Certificate of Satisfaction

 

Factored into repayment – does not come at ‘extra charge’

 

 

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) or ‘Debt Payment Programme (DPP)

 

 

Scotland

 

10% of total amount paid out (8% retained by payment distributor, 2% accountant fee)

 

 

Factored into repayment – does not come at ‘extra charge’

 

 

Minimal Asset Process (MAP)

 

 

Scotland

 

 

£50 Application Fee

 

Extra Cost to the client

 

Protected Trust Deed (PTD)

 

 

Scotland

 

Nominee Fees up to £2k

Supervisory Fees 15% of monthly DI P/M

Introducer Fees up to £700-£800

 

 

Factored into Disposable Income – does not come at ‘extra charge’

 

 

Sequestration

 

 

Scotland

 

£150 Accountancy Fee (may be reduced to £0)

 

 

Extra Cost to the client

 

Debt Consolidation

 

 

UK

 

Interest Rates and Capital Return

 

Extra Cost to the client

 

Warning Clients

 

We must warn our clients of the following:

 

      • The actual or potential consequences of failing to continue to pay taxes, fines, child support and debts could result in loss of access to essential goods or services or repossession of, or eviction from, the client’s home.
      • The actual or potential consequences of not continuing to make repayments under credit agreements or consumer hire agreements
      • The actual or potential consequences of ignoring correspondence or other contact from lenders and those acting on behalf of lenders
      • That action to recover debts may have commenced, which may involve further costs to the client (debt collection fees)
      • By entering into a non-statutory repayment plan such as a DMP, there is no guarantee that any current recovery or legal action will be suspended or withdrawn

 

Consequences to Credit Rating and Ability to Obtain Credit

 

For each debt solution that is available, each will have varying impacts upon the client in terms of their ability to obtain or apply for credit. In some instances, specific debt solutions will not allow for the application of credit during the time in which the solution applies. Some solutions restrict the ability to obtain credit but do not prohibit it. We must ensure our clients are provided with the relevant information regarding these consequences. We have included a breakdown of how different solutions affect clients Credit Rating and the ability to obtain Credit, below:

 

 

Debt Solution

 

 

Consequence 

 

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

 

 

Viewable on Public Insolvency Register for 6 years

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 years

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Written permission is required if applying for credit of more than £500

 

 

Protected Trust Deed (PTD)

 

 

Viewable on Public Insolvency Register for 6 years

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 Years

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Possible Restriction on the ability to obtain credit

 

 

Bankruptcy

 

 

Viewable on Public Insolvency Register for 15 months

C7 10 years on Credit Report / C13 7 Years on Credit Report

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Unable to obtain Credit during 12 months as bankrupt

 

 

Administration Order (AO)

 

 

Viewable on Public Insolvency Register for 6 years

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 Years

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Restricted ability to obtain credit

 

 

Debt Management Plan (DMP)

 

 

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 years upon satisfaction

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Restricted ability to obtain credit

 

 

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

 

 

Viewable on Public Insolvency Register for 15 months

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 Years

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Restricted ability to obtain credit 

 

 

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

 

 

 

Viewable on the DAS Register

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 Years

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Restricted ability to obtain credit

 

 

Sequestration

 

 

Viewable on Public Insolvency Register for 5 years

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 Years

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Restricted ability to obtain credit

 

 

Minimal Asset Process (MAP)

 

 

Viewable on Public Insolvency Register for 5 years

Viewable on Credit Report for 6 Years

Negative Impact on Credit Rating

Restricted ability to obtain credit

 

 

Debt Consolidation

 

 

Possible Negative/Positive Impact on Credit Rating

 

Debt Solution Specific Considerations

 

In the event that a client is most suitable for any specific debt solution, we have a duty to convey to our clients the existence of additional considerations, before acceptance of the solution is made. We have included a breakdown of this information below:

 

For more information, please refer to the following Documentation:

 

      1. Debt Solutions (England, Wales, N. Ireland)
      2. Debt Solutions (Scotland)

 

Debt Solution / Specific Consideration

 

Specific Risk

 

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

Protected Trust Deed (PTD)

 

 

 

If the arrangement or deed fails, creditors may petition for the client to become Bankrupt

 

IVA may be facing an increased term of an additional 12 months if the client is unable to remortgage

 

Restrictions will be placed on the expenditure of the client when entering into an IVA or PTD

 

IVAs and PTDs are subject to the Meeting of Creditors (MOC) of which 75% of creditors must agree

 

IVAs or PTDs only comprise of unsecured debt which is discharged upon successfully finalising the IVA or PTD.

 

 

Home Equity

 

 

Homeowners may need to release equity from the value of the home to pay off debts. A remortgage may attract higher rates of interest

 

 

Debt Solution Paid Entry Criteria

 

We must ensure our clients are adequately informed as to our remuneration structure. If we are to be paid for any introductions, we must make clear to the client the existence of such payments. For our paid Product Offering, that is, paid introductions for IVAs, PTDs and our internally contracted DMPs are subject to specific criteria, we have included the criteria for each solution below:

 

 

Paid Debt Solution

 

 

Third-Party Entry Criteria (Minimum)

 

Individual Voluntary Arrangement

 

 

DI: £85.00+ | Minimum Creditors: 2 |Minimum Debt Level: £6,000

 

 

Protected Trust Deed 

 

 

DI: £85.00+ | Minimum Creditors: 2 |Minimum Debt Level: £6,000

 

 

Debt Management Plan

 

 

DI: £100+| Minimum Creditors: 1|No Minimum Debt Level: £2,500

 

 

Debt Solution Referral Table

 

We work with several third parties, who will receive a referral from us given certain circumstances and suitability. We will only refer clients in the event they are most suitable for that referral. We have included how we are also able to assist with specific solutions, which do not require third party referrals.

 

 

Debt Solution

 

 

 

 

Individual Voluntary Arrangement

 

 

 

 

 

 Protected Trust Deed

 

 

 

Bankruptcy

 

 

Free Sector

 

Debt Management Plan

 

 

Free Sector

 

 

Debt Relief Order

 

Free Sector

 

Debt Arrangement Scheme

 

Free Sector

 

Administration Order

 

Free Sector

 

Sequestration

 

Free Sector

 

Minimal Asset Process

 

Free Sector

 

Debt Consolidation

 

N/A

 

Insolvency Procedure

 

In some cases, and where relevant, we should explain to our client the nature of the Insolvency process/procedure and the role we must conform to in order for the procedure to be enacted.

 

Please refer to our Debt Solution Insolvency Procedure.

 

Making Informed Decisions

 

Our Debt Advice and the information that we provide clients can often be substantial. To ensure we treat our clients fairly, it is absolutely imperative we provide succinct, user-friendly information that concerns balanced advantages and disadvantages, inclusive of relevant risks and considerations, to ensure clients can make an informed decision. Some solutions can last for many years. In these circumstances, we have an extra duty of care in ensuring the client understands. We will ensure we utilise the following procedure to ensure compliance in this respect:

 

      • We will enquire as to whether the client in question has a close friend or family member who is able to provide insight into the allocated and advised debt solution
      • Where we have identified the client is of a particular vulnerability or difficulties with regard to mental incapacity, we will ensure we take extra care, seeking additional confirmation of understanding, reiterating any information should we feel that the client does not understand and providing real-time for the client to make a decision
      • Where we have provided our advice by durable medium, we will ensure the client has time to read this, with a view to calling the client back after 1 hour, 1 day or as preferred

 

We have identified instances that we consequently prohibit from occurring, these are as follows:

 

      • We will not make personal arrangements to collect information from clients unless explicitly requested by the client.
      • We will not provide time restrictions on the client, pressuring the client into making a quicker decision
      • We will not create the impression of sparsity in the availability of our advisers’ time

 

Providing Our Advised Determinations

 

      • We must make clear which debts will or won’t be included within any debt solution. This extends to Secured Debt and Unsecured Debt.
      • We ensure we provide clear and balanced advice regarding the actual or potential advantages, disadvantages, costs and risks of each solution available to the client, inclusive of entry criteria into each debt solution. Entry Criteria for our Paid Solutions can be found in the following table.
      • We inform the client of the solutions which we have deemed unsuitable and provide clear information as to why we have reached this conclusion. This allows the client to make an informed decision about the options available.
      • Where Disposable Income is bordering on eligible for a given solution, we revisit the accuracy of our assessments before providing the solution
      • We do not promote our paid products as a priority over free-sector solutions.
      • We provide our clients with our rationale for any recommendations which we make
      • We take into account the needs of the individual and any requests made by a client
      • Where an adviser is uncertain, seek clarification from peers or management
      • We refer clients to the appropriate not-for-profit where the client does not have the required Disposable Income, or we are unable to advise or assist with certain debts
      • Where we do not contract with clients we provide advice in a durable medium where it is appropriate to do so, e.g., where complex advice is given. We provide sufficient time for the client to consider the advice before having to make a decision on the appropriate course of action.

 

Providing Advice in a durable medium 

 

As we do not enter into a contract with clients, we still provide advice in a durable medium where required and deemed reasonable in accordance with the best interests of the client and having regard for the complexity of the advice and the client’s circumstances. When providing advice in a durable medium, we also:

      • make clear which debts will be included in a debt solution and which debts will be excluded from any debt solution
      • makes clear the actual or potential advantages, disadvantages, costs and risks of each option available to the client, with any conditions that apply for entry into each option and which debts may be covered by each option
      • provide the relevant warnings
      • provide the relevant risks
      • take into account the individual needs of, and any requests made by, the client
      • explain the nature of an insolvency procedure and the role of the firm

 

We have a template that can be populated when providing advice in a durable medium.

 

Monitoring Advice

 

Monitoring efforts are undertaken to review the provision of debt advice. This enables us to determine where the provision of debt advice was appropriate, having regard for the client’s individual and financial circumstances.

 

Identifying and remedying incorrect advice

 

If we have failed in our requirement to deliver our service wholly and compliantly (with reasonable care and skill), we may be subject to refunds of fees and charges. We will be subject to such eventualities given the following circumstances:

 

      • We do not provide our advice in a durable medium (where required)
      • We provide the incorrect advice
      • We fail to explain a formal insolvency procedure and our role as a firm within it
      • We actively discourage clients from shopping around or assessing alternative sources of debt advice or remedies
      • We do not make a sufficient assessment of the client’s circumstances
      • We do not take into account client needs and/or vulnerabilities
      • We manipulate Income and Expenditure Assessments to promote specific solutions
      • We do not appropriately warn the client of additional risks and considerations associated with a chosen solution
      • We have pressurised our clients into accepting or proceeding with an advised determination
      • We do not allow our clients ample time and opportunity to reflect upon the information provided

 

If we have identified any failings in the provision of our advice, we should:

 

      • Seek confirmation from the third-party IP where applicable as to the success of the conversion
      • Attempt to recontact the client, providing an explanation
      • Seek re-engagement, conduct a new income and expenditure assessment, inclusive of parameters conducive to financial circumstances and also identify or reassess the suitability of the debt solution
      • Seek to satisfy any client concerns and present redress options where appropriate

 

Call Recordings

 

All Call Recordings are to be saved for Call Monitoring Requirements.

 

Adviser competence

 

We ensure that we conduct our debt advice process with due skill, care and diligence by employing debt advisers who are suitably qualified and trained.

 

We provide training to our debt advisers in respect to different debt solutions and their advantages and disadvantages. All advisers are trained on the solutions available within the market and are provided with process documentation to help them assess whether a solution is appropriate for the client.

 

We provide our debt advisers with training in respect to debt solutions that are available in the different jurisdictions within the United Kingdom, allowing our advisers to provide appropriate advice.

 

Our debt advisers are monitored by way of conducting call reviews and client files audits.

 

Adviser incentives

 

For the activities that we engage in, we must not unfairly incentivise our Debt Advisers to the extent that the incentive may impede upon our obligations regarding the best interests of our clients and to ensure we provide advice as appropriate to the individual’s circumstances, having been based upon a sufficiently full assessment of the financial circumstances of the client. This means that our paid debt solution products/referrals must only be offered where suitable and appropriate, not due to any incentives rewardable for having packaged a solution for a referral.

 

At this time, no incentive structure is in place. Where this changes in the future, any incentives will be designed with a focus on the achievement of TCF outcomes. Any adviser incentives will be linked to a 100% quality assurance score and positive client feedback.

 

Vulnerable Clients

 

We have a vulnerable consumers’ policy in place which sets out guidance to enable our debt advisers to appropriately identify and interact with vulnerable consumers. The FCA have published substantial material regarding client Vulnerability, as made been made apparent within the FCA’s Occasional Paper No.8 and Guidance for Firms on the Fair Treatment of Vulnerable Clients.

 

We seek to ensure that clients understand the debt solutions available to them, the costs, risks and advantages. We provide clients with information in writing. Our advisers provide client service support to answer any of our clients’ queries.

 

Not-for-profit Debt Advice

 

We provide clients with information about not-for-profit debt advice bodies who offer free and impartial debt advice at the beginning of our first communication with the client. We take note of the client’s country of residence so we can signpost the client appropriately.

 

We also signpost clients to not-for-profit debt advice bodies in circumstances where we are unable to assist with their debt, the clients require immediate attention better suited elsewhere or where the client does not meet our minimum disposable income threshold. Our specific obligation extends to providing information about the Money Advice Service. This must be communicated to the client within our first communication and for our contracted clients, also in a durable medium, where applicable, and include the following web-link as means of best practice: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/debt-advice-locator

 

Third-party Debt Solution Providers and Advisers

 

We must ensure we refer a client to alternative debt solution providers in circumstances where we are unable to provide the appropriate advice or provide an appropriate debt solution for the client.