Yesterday morning, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned the customers of three debt management firms to contact their creditors and find out exactly what they owe on their debts.
The debt management firms in question are Sterling Financial Security Limited (Sterling), Haydon Associates Debt Management Consultants Limited (Haydon) and Clear View Finance Limited (Clear View), all based in Lichfield.
Most customers of these firms have had 90% of their monthly payments deducted in fees, meaning that only 10p out of every pound they were paying was actually going towards their debts.
The FCA have announced that these firms have failed to comply with the requirement to provide regular written balance statements to customers. As a result, the FCA has withdrawn permission for them to offer debt management services or set up new debt management plans.
According to the FCA customers of the three firms may have debt balances much larger than they expect, despite paying into a debt management plan. That’s why, as a matter of urgency, the FCA are urging customers to find out exactly what they owe and seek free advice on what to do next.
What you can do next
Follow the FCA’s advice and contact your creditors to make sure you know exactly what you owe. Then seek free debt advice to find out how to deal with your situation. Millions of people seek free debt advice every year, helping them get back on an even keel.
You may find yourself being approached by another fee-charging debt management firm or third party in the wake of this announcement. Before making any decisions on what to do next, we strongly recommend that you seek free debt advice first. This page on our website can help you do this.
If you prefer, you can call the Money Advice Service (MAS) debt advice line on 0300 330 222 or check their website for more details. MAS is working with us and other free debt advice providers to give you the information and support you need.
Who’s the FCA?
Last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over the regulation of debt management and advice. They ensure that consumer credit companies and advice agencies act fairly and ethically.
Can I move my DMP to StepChange Debt Charity?
When a person contacts us for free and confidential debt advice, we take a close look at their budget to find the best solution for them. Before we would potentially offer you a DMP, we must look at your situation from all angles.
There’s two ways to do this:
Our online advice tool Debt Remedy can help you put together a personal action plan. This will take approximately 20 minutes, and is a straightforward and anonymous way for you to get the debt advice you need.
Our team of debt advisors are also on hand to go through your budget and discuss all available options with you. Visit our contact us page for more information.
If a DMP is most suitable for you, then we’ll happily provide one that’s completely free of charge. However, it’s possible that another solution might be more suitable. If this is the case, we can guide you through the whole process so you can get things back on track.