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What is “Generic Advice” and what is “Debt counseling”?

We have created a guide to help you understand the differences between “generic advice” and debt counselling.  This will assist you in transitioning your clients to us in an ethical and compliant way.

 

Example Generic Advice Debt Counseling
“I recommend you enter into a debt management plan”
“I recommend you do not borrow more than you can comfortably afford”
Completing an Income & Expenditure for a client to assess their affordability
Advisor gives budgetary advice
Advisor gives an explanation of the way various types of debt solutions work (neutral explanation)
A person explains how to fill in a form for entering a IVA or DMP
A person recommends that a debtor obtain advice from a debt counseling firm.
“I recommend you prioritise the repayment on your utility bill over your debt repayments”
“I recommend you do not use an IVA”

 

Introducer Obligations

From 1 April 2014 all organisations providing debt counselling or debt adjusting services to individuals with debt problems needed to apply for interim FCA permission with a view to becoming fully authorized. Introducers not regulated by the FCA for debt counseling and debt adjusting are what we call “generic” introducers and the guide above gives some ideas of how to steer clear of  debt counseling.

As an introducer you must hold valid ICO registration and if you are marketing to individuals either via telephone, fax, email, text, picture or video message, or by using an automated calling system, there are a number of rules under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) that must be followed.

Please click on this link for further information regarding PECR:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/

 

“Debt Counseling” Introducer

Practices who have FCA permission which covers debt counselling and or debt adjusting are able to provide advice on the different debts solutions and make recommendations. We are obliged to carry out checks on your compliance quality assurance monitoring to ensure this complies with relevant rules and regulation not least of which is those set out by the FCA.

 

“Generic” Introducer

Majority of Introducers fall into this category.  You can only give neutral “generic” advice and will need to stop short of advising on any debt solutions.  Once you have established the position of the consumer which would include their personal information, amounts due to secured and unsecured creditors plus income and expenditure details, these details can be sent over to advice@thedebtadvisor.co.uk as long as you have the client’s express permission. Please make sure you record their permission in the e-mail to us.

It is possible as a generic introducer to generate leads using websites and SMS campaigns which can provide examples of debt solutions and which also highlight the benefits and risks of the solutions. But you would need to make sure your data is opted in and not on the telephone preference service and observe the PECR regulations. We have an obligation to review websites of any introducers to make sure the content does not breach FCA rules and regulations.

 

If you are thinking of generating debt leads, please do speak to Sarah Lockwood sarah.lockwood@thedebtadvisor.co.uk  who can go through the Do’s and Don’t’s in more detail.

 

Please contact Sarah Lockwood Marketing and Business Relationship Associate

Office:   03339999623

Email: sarah.lockwood@thedebtadvisor.co.uk