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DEMSA MEMBERSHIP INCREASES

July 25, 2011 Comments Off on DEMSA MEMBERSHIP INCREASES

We are pleased to welcome Pentagon (UK) Ltd Trading as Eurodebt Financial Services, and Churchwood Financial Limited, as members of DEMSA, both having satisfactorily completed the stringent compliance audit process.

DEMSA is also continuing to work with several more prospective members in processing their membership applications.

DEMSA strongly condemns the malpractice uncovered by BBC investigation into debt management companies

May 31, 2011 Comments Off on DEMSA strongly condemns the malpractice uncovered by BBC investigation into debt management companies

Following the news that some debt management companies have been holding on to clients’ money rather than paying it to creditors, Michael Land, Chairman of the Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA), said: “DEMSA condemns in the strongest terms these completely unacceptable practices and we support the OFT in taking tough action against these rogue firms in the debt settlement industry.”

Under the terms of the OFT debt management guidance notes, any monies held on behalf of consumers must be kept in a client account not usable by the firm for the purposes of its own business.

Mr Land explained: “DEMSA ensures that all its member firms have safeguards in place to protect the consumer. All member firms have to keep customers’ money ring fenced in trust accounts and provide a compliance certificate that they are maintained satisfactorily by a chartered accountant. Firms belonging to DEMSA must also pass on clients’ payments to the consumers within five working days.”

Mr Land advised any customer seeking to use a debt management company to look for the DEMSA and OFT logo for reassurance that they are dealing with a reputable firm which is committed to the high standards set out in the DEMSA Code of Conduct.

DEMSA is the only trade body in the sector to have received approval of its code under the OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. As the principal trade body in the sector it works closely with the OFT to help promote high standards in the industry.

Membership of DEMSA is reliant upon debt management companies being able to demonstrate that they comply with the standards set out in the DEMSA Code of Conduct. All members are subject to ongoing stringent checks to ensure they adhere to both the Code and OFT guidance.

OFT working with DEMSA to clean-up industry

September 29, 2010 Comments Off on OFT working with DEMSA to clean-up industry

In their “Debt Management Guidance Compliance Review”, the OFT gave a damning report on the debt advice industry and found that many companies were failing to provide an adequate service to vulnerable customers.

The report identified that the OFT has told 129 debt management firms that they face losing their consumer credit licence if they do not take compliance action within the next 3 months.

In contrast, all DEMSA members were compliant with the OFT guidance and were singled out as having already addressed all issues raised.

The report also explains that the OFT are working with DEMSA to improve overall standards across the industry, following the increase in unregulated companies trying to capitalise amid the current financial climate.

During an interview on BBC Radio 5’s breakfast programme Nigel Cates, Deputy Director of Consumer Affairs at the OFT, explained that the commercial market had grown as a result of the increased number of people struggling with their finances.

As part of his summary on the report, he signposted customers to organisations providing “sound” advice, stating that DEMSA: “…is promoted by the OFT and they have the OFT Code, and we would recommend that if you are going to use a commercial debt management company always look for that membership.”

Michael Land, Chairman of DEMSA, said: “We’re glad that the hard work by DEMSA members, to ensure customers receive the highest standards of service, has been publicly recognised by the OFT and we look forward to continuing our work with the OFT to ensure standards across the industry can be improved further.”

DEMSA Backs the OFT’s Drive Towards Higher Standards in the Debt Management Sector

September 28, 2010 Comments Off on DEMSA Backs the OFT’s Drive Towards Higher Standards in the Debt Management Sector

Commenting on the OFT’s debt management compliance review Michael Land, chairman of DEMSA said: “DEMSA and its members fully support the OFT’s drive towards higher standards in the debt management sector.

“DEMSA members have long been committed to raising standards, indeed DEMSA is the only trade body in the sector to have received approval of its Code under the OFT’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme.  We will continue to work closely with the OFT to lead the drive towards higher standards and we are encouraged that the OFT has acknowledged the key role for DEMSA in doing so.”

The boards of DEMSA and DRF examine ways of working more closely

April 9, 2010 Comments Off on The boards of DEMSA and DRF examine ways of working more closely

In the best interests of consumers and the Authorities, the Boards of the Debt Managers Standards Association Ltd (DEMSA) and Debt Resolution Forum (DRF) are examining ways of working more closely together to effect best practice and compliance in the debt management industry.

Currently the members of both associations represent 80%+ of the private sector debt managers in the UK.

DEMSA calls to prevent last blast of credit before Christmas

December 10, 2009 Comments Off on DEMSA calls to prevent last blast of credit before Christmas

DEMSA calls on shoppers to be more aware of their spending in an attempt to prevent the post Christmas financial hangover

The Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA) has called on consumers to be more aware of their spending habits when shopping in the run up to Christmas, as a latest study by Moneysupermarket.com (1) reveals that 45% of UK adults are worried about how they will fund their traditional seasonal shopping.

According to the research by the comparison website, only 34 per cent of people will have saved enough money for presents by the time Santa starts his delivery mission – leaving 66 per cent having to resort to credit to fund purchases or without funds at all.

Last year, the average shopper spent ¬£320 on presents alone, according to figures by Asda (2), and that figure doesn’t look like reducing this year.

Add to this unemployment figures and the dire state of the job market, along with the immediate outlook for the economy, and the risk of developing potential debt problems increases – hence why DEMSA have called for shoppers to be extra careful when shopping this Christmas.

The beginning of the year is the busiest time for debt companies, as many people have one final blast on their available lines of credit before credit card bills and bank statements from Christmas arrive.

Michael Land, Chairman of DEMSA, said: “At Christmas time, many people’s finances are placed under intense strain as they have to find money for presents, food and travelling to see relatives which they would otherwise not have to.

“We all feel a duty to treat our friends and family over the festive period, along with getting in the spirit of things with celebrations, but we also have to be aware of the longer-term effects of maxing out credit cards and overdrafts.

“If this happens then finding expert impartial advice is essential. The DEMSA website www.demsa.co.uk lists all accredited companies so consumers can quickly find an honest and impartial company.”

The danger for consumers is that they may seek advice from debt management companies that have confusing or misleading terms and conditions, as Charles Wallace, head of codes, Office of Fair Trading, explains:

“Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to controlling the amount they spend on credit. However people are still getting their fingers burnt when it comes to managing debts. This is why Office of Fair Trading has worked with DEMSA to safeguard consumers against ill-advised debt management solutions. When looking to choose a debt management plan, consumers can feel confident that they can rely on the advice of DEMSA members regarding the service being offered: wherever consumers see the OFT Approved Scheme logo, they can be confident about the advice and service they will receive.”

CHAIRMANS REPORT – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

October 2, 2009 Comments Off on CHAIRMANS REPORT – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

During 2008, we continued to work closely with the OFT, making improvements to our compliance audit process, and we are continuing to monitor all areas, making any changes when necessary.

Once again our ongoing monitoring, including customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, has shown a very low incidence of complaints from members‚ clients

We are delighted to welcome Baines and Ernst as members of DEMSA and Nick Pearson of Baines and Ernst and Ivan Cooper of Chiltern to the board of directors.

We can also report that we have a considerable number of prospective members in the pipeline and Richard Wharton has been busy with compliance audit visits taking place over the year.

It is noticeable that in many cases applicants have to rethink their marketing approach to ensure that they are fully compliant with the DEMSA code, and we are pleased to say that in every case they readily agree to do so. This ranges from minor to major alterations in their marketing and administrative approach to consumers. This can only continue to raise standards in the debt management industry.

MICHAEL LAND

CHAIRMAN

2 October 2009

Moneysupermarket.com policy decision

September 21, 2009 Comments Off on Moneysupermarket.com policy decision

Moneysupermarket.com has decided from 1 October 2009 only to admit debt managers who are able to display the OFT Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) logo. Since DEMSA is the only trade association that holds this accreditation, then they must, therefore, be members of DEMSA.

The object of the CCAS is to raise standards beyond those required by law and Moneysupermarket.com is to be applauded for its concern to ensure that the highest standards of consumer protection are available through their website.

Welcome to our new website

July 9, 2009 Comments Off on Welcome to our new website

This is our new website, which includes this News section. The subjects are limited to DEMSA related news topics.
We hope you like the new site and we hope you find everything you require.

DEMSA Gets OFT Code Approval

December 2, 2008 Comments Off on DEMSA Gets OFT Code Approval

DEMSA has become the first trade body within the debt management industry to successfully secure approval for its code of practice under the OFT Consumer Codes Approval Scheme for advice for debt management plans (DMP) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA).

The OFT only approves codes that have proved effective in safeguarding and promoting the interests of consumers beyond the basic requirements of the law.

DEMSA, through its members, aims to encourage the highest standards within the Debt Management Industry and to ensure clients are dealt with in a responsible, compassionate and transparent manner when finding an appropriate solution to their financial circumstances.

John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive said, “DEMSA has undertaken a rigorous assessment to achieve OFT Code Approval, and I congratulate them on their work to improve standards for consumers using their services. Consumers can now be confident that where they see the OFT Approved Code logo they will be treated fairly, and that an effective redress scheme is available if this is not the case”.