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Compliance & Disciplinary

DEMSA treats all complaints extremely seriously and has a robust system for investigating and ensuring appropriate redress. This provides clients of member firms with an additional layer of protection, in addition to that offered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Any issues of non-compliance can be referred by the Code Administrator to DEMSA’s Compliance and Disciplinary Panel which is chaired by former High Court Judge Sir Harry Ognall DL, assisted by independent and influential panel members.

This panel is convened to investigate and rule on any breaches which may be raised as a result of a client or a creditor complaint, a compliance audit, or through any other source or Code breach.

The panel can impose a wide range of sanctions including fines, instructing changes, naming and shaming, suspension and ultimately expulsion from the association.

The Compliance and Discipline Panel (the Panel) is convened as and when appropriate, to determine any appeal from a decision of the Code Administrator that alleged misconduct is not Code-related, or any complaint of a Code-related breach, and to make any consequential orders as are set out in this Code.

The Panel has a Chairman and no more than 4 other members (including the Code Administrator). All members of the Panel are wholly independent of the debt management industry. Three members constitute a quorum. In the event of the Chairman being unavailable, the Code Administrator will nominate another member to chair the proceedings. For the avoidance of doubt, the Code Administrator will not form part of the Panel in any case involving an appeal from a determination by him or her.

The Panel will hear and determine allegations of misconduct by a member of DEMSA arising from any of the following:

  1. A consumer complaint
  2. In consequence of a compliance audit. In this context, DEMSA will undertake whether by internal procedures or by the services of external professionals, regular reviews of members’ compliance with key principles of the Code as well as the TSI Notes for Guidance.
  3. Information obtained from a mystery shopping exercise, or a consumer satisfaction survey.
  4. A complaint from another DEMSA member.
  5. A complaint from any other interested source, including (but not confined to) a lender.

The Panel will normally accept and consider and reach its’ decision solely on the basis of any written representations by the parties. Such representations must be received within no less than 7 working days of the date appointed for the meeting of the Panel. The Panel, in its discretion may permit personal representation by, or on behalf of a party. Request for a personal hearing must be submitted in writing, setting out the reason for the request, and will be decided by the Chairman alone.

The decision of the Panel will be communicated to the member in writing within 5 working days and will contain a short summary of the reasons