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DRF unveils measures to improve standards 11 July 2011

The trade body has brought in a new membership category for lead introducers, that invites them to volunteer for annual monitoring by the Insolvency Practitioners’ Association (IPA) at their own cost, so that DRF members can ensure they have a bank of trusted lead introducers they can use.

The announcement comes after a campaign of enforcement by the OFT in the debt management sector.

Its latest action was to revoke the licence of debt management company, Parkgate UK, after it sent a threatening letter to a debt collection agency.

The letter, sent on behalf of one of Parkgate’s clients, included a threat of physical violence against the agent should they attempt to collect the client’s debts. The OFT said Parkgate was unfit to hold a licence.

The DRF is planning to enhance its Cert DR industry qualification by introducing annual training, known as a continuing professional development scheme, which Cert DR holders must complete to a minimum standard to maintain their certificate.

Also being considered is the addition of an assessed module to the Cert DR qualification to make it a full Diploma.

The measures follow the recent launch of an OFT consultation on updated debt management guidance, which began after a compliance review found widespread issues of non-compliance with regulatory requirements in the debt management industry, particularly the fee-charging sector.

In an open letter published in response to the consultation David Mond, chairman of the DRF, said: “We know that the OFT is going to be holding debt solutions providers responsible for ensuring their lead introducers are appropriately licensed and compliant.

“DRF recognises this could be a huge burden on firms and, to that end, we have introduced a new category of membership for lead introducers.”

Mond has also encouraged DRF members to submit views and opinions on the consultation to the members-only forum on its website ahead of next week, when it will begin feeding back initial views on each section of the consultation to the OFT.

To read the full document, click here:



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