The Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA), a trade body for debt management and IVA firms, has today announced a merger with another trade association.
DEMSA is merging with the Association of Professional Debt Solution Intermediaries (APDSI), creating an association of more than 40 debt management firms and a number of insolvency specialist and support providers.
As a result of the merger, DEMSA now represents more than 300,000 debt management plans, amounting to more than two million credit agreements.
The merged association, which will operate under the DEMSA brand, has appointed industry veteran Kevin Still as chief executive.
Still has been a principal trainer for DEMSA and APDSI during the past 18 months.
He will work closely with the applications, supervisory and enforcement teams at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) alongside other regulatory bodies, trade associations and industry influencers.
The merger will also see the expansion of the board to represent a cross-section of the expanded membership base.
Still said the merger will create a DEMSA that can represent members in the best way, adding: “It can support higher standards for the benefit of the credit sector and the public.
“We have used the recent FCA Thematic Review on the suitability of debt advice as a major driver to improve industry standards. “
He added: “One of the overriding strategic imperatives is for the merged association to represent a true industry voice and provide a genuine conduit with the primary sector regulators and ombudsmen, notably the FCA and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
“This merger comes at a critical stage for the majority of members, where most have applied for full permissions with the FCA and are now subject to supplemental information requests and visits.
“We want to take advantage of the FCA information requests to members from May 2014 onwards, to establish a meaningful data gathering initiative to assist lobbying, promotion, creditor initiatives and responses to current regulatory consultations.”
Richard Wharton, general secretary for DEMSA, said: “This is an exciting merger, which brings together two established and respected organisations and combines that expertise and influence for the benefit of its members.”
He explained that one of the association’s key objectives is growing the membership base in terms of volume of members and commercial debt solutions.
This will be supported by a major commitment to accredited training, in association with the IMA and through DEMSA’s CPD programme for members.
By Marcel LeGouais