DEMSA was established in December 2000 in order to promote good practice in the debt management industry, and to protect the interests of the public and the lenders to whom they owe money.
Debt management companies act on behalf of borrowers to help them to clear their debts. They do this by entering into direct negotiations with creditors in order to facilitate the repayment of debts. In return for their services debt management companies are generally paid a fee by the borrowers.
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. The Code of Conduct has been developed in consultation with a number of debt management companies and major lenders.
The aim of the Code, and that of DEMSA, is to encourage debt management companies to provide services of the highest standards in which the public and the credit industry can have confidence.
In September 2015, DEMSA merged with the trade association APDSI (the Association of Professional Debt Solution Intermediaries) creating a larger and more representative member base including more debt advisers, insolvency practitioners and debt management firms holding client money. The Association has actively recruited Associate Members that support the debt advice and debt management sector, including software providers, compliance service providers and professional indemnity providers. Associate members include creditors. The transfer of consumer credit from the OFT to the FCA has been a major focal point, with members now operating under the Supervision regime. The smooth transition to GDPR has been another focal point along with the transition from the Approved Persons regime to the Senior Managers regime at the end of 2018.
DEMSA continues to facilitate engagement between creditors and members, including regular Compliance Forums and weekly bulletins. Training services are delivered face-to-face and through its e-learning platform. DEMSA has regular engagement with the FCA and the Money Advice Service as a representative of the Operational Steering Group. DEMSA also sits on the Standard Financial Statement governance group.