The leading financial services trade bodies have issued a series of statements today (7 February) on the launch of the debt management protocol.
Their reactions are detailed in full below.
According to the Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA) the protocol is good news for consumers.
A spokesperson for DEMSA said: “Not only does it improve the operation of debt management plans and the auditing of providers, but it will also provide a clear way for consumers to differentiate between providers that are committed to the highest standards and those that are not.”
The Debt Resolution Forum, which promotes professional standards for resolving debtors’ financial problems, added: “We have worked hard with The Insolvency Service and creditors to create a protocol that reflects the efforts that the industry has made in recent years to build public trust and confidence.
“This is a major step forward in standards, practice and transparency.”
A representative from the British Bankers Association said: “We welcome today’s announcement as an important step towards raising the standard of debt advice available to customers in financial difficulty.
“Banks provide funding for the majority of free impartial debt advice and will always signpost their customers to free advisors. However, if customers do wish to pay for advice it is important that they find a provider who is compliant with these new standards.”
The Credit Services Association commended Swinson and the Insolvency Service for their leadership in developing the protocol.
Debt management firm Gregory Pennington has confirmed that it will adopt the new protocol.
Melanie Taylor, head of corporate relations at Gregory Pennington, said: “The best firms in the sector already operate high standards and deliver great value for money and excellent service to their clients and it will be comparatively easy for them to offer protocol-compliant plans.”
She added: “This means that while many companies commit to raising standards by adopting the protocol, others will sit outside of these important new standards.
“We would urge government to go one step further and make signing the protocol and meeting its standards a requirement for all debt management providers.”