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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 Counselling
“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 counselling firm.
“I recommend you prioritise the repayment on your utility bill over your debt repayments”
“I recommend you do not use an IVA”

 

All organisations providing debt counselling or debt adjusting services to individuals with debt problems need to authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and have permission to carry out these activities. Introducers not regulated by the FCA for debt counselling and debt adjusting are what we call “generic” introducers and the guide above gives some ideas of how to steer clear of debt counselling.

The FCA have produced guidance on what is and is not debt consumer credit debt counselling – Perimeter Guidance 17.

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/

“Generic” Introducer

As a generic introducers you can only give neutral “generic” advice and will need to stop short of advising or recommending any particular 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 introducer@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 either Darcey Budsworth or Sarah Lockwood who can go through the Do’s and Don’t’s in more detail.

Please contact:-

Darcey Budsworth Advisory Supervisor  on 0333 9999 630

Sarah Lockwood Advisory Compliance Supervisor 0333 9999 626

Email: introducer@thedebtadvisor.co.uk