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Feature: Should there be a protocol for debt management plans? 18 October 2011

However, the success of such a scheme relies on the goodwill and participation of all parties - which unfortunately is not guaranteed.

Undoubtedly a protocol could bring standardisation and uniformity; resulting in efficiencies and cost reductions for providers and creditors; which in-turn should benefit clients and provide them with much needed certainty.

However, a single creditor, debt collector or purchaser choosing not to adopt the protocol could completely undermine the success of it.

There is also the question of which providers would be approved to offer such a protocol and how they would be monitored to ensure their compliance.

There are still far too many rogue firms in this sector; that fail to meet OFT’s minimum standards and do not serve the best interests of their clients.

A protocol with genuine benefits; that offered guarantees rather than best endeavours – for example a freeze on interest and charges - could encourage those poorer providers to raise their standards to gain inclusion.

Fundamentally such a protocol needs to bring tangible efficiencies and be simple and easy to adopt – to ensure upfront costs are heavily outweighed by longer term benefits.

There are considerable changes ahead; and DEMSA and its members remain committed to working closely with stakeholders to support any initiative that raises standards and benefits clients.

by Melanie Taylor, director of external affairs at DEMSA



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