Having had time to consider its content, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has delivered a strong endorsement of Peter Wyman’s review of debt advice funding, which was published in January 2018.

A statement issued by the FCA reads:

“Peter Wyman’s report into the funding and delivery of debt advice in the UK is an important step which will make a real difference to policy and practice in this vital area. Good quality advice, delivered in a cost-effective way, is crucial in helping avoid harm to consumers struggling with debt, many of whom can be vulnerable. We are working through the detail of the recommendations that affect the FCA directly and look forward to working closely with the Money Advice Service and other stakeholders as we think about how we might act on the report’s findings.”

On behalf of the Government, John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said:

“When overwhelmed by problem debt, the right advice can be crucial to helping people get their lives back on track. Peter Wyman’s review has the right approach. We need to do everything we can to ensure the quality, availability and efficiency of debt advice for people all over the country. I look forward to working with the Money Advice Service and the wider sector to do this.”

Mr Wyman, a former senior partner at accountants PwC, and President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, set out a series of recommendations for the debt advice sector in his report.

These recommendations included:

  • Providers of free debt advice should aim to move 15% of their current face-to-face demand to telephone advice over the next two years, whilst also moving 20% of the existing demand for telephone advice to webchat services
  • Providers of free debt advice should strive for efficiency savings of 20% over the next two years
  • The Insolvency Service should return the full fee it collects from each Debt Relief Order to the relevant debt adviser
  • The Government should launch a campaign, targeting occupations such as health workers, teachers, social workers, prison and probation officers and counsellors, encouraging them to refer people to free debt advice through the Money Advice Service’s Debt Advice Locator tool
  • Employer organisations, such as the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses, should highlight to their members that free debt advice is available
  • Creditors should be forced to do more to highlight the availability of free debt advice, and bailiffs or legal action should only be used after an individual has been made aware of the existence of this free debt advice
  • All providers of debt advice, including commercial firms, should have a quality assurance process that has been approved by the FCA, and should be required to make annual reports of headline data, which are then made publicly available
  • All debt advisers should attain a specialist debt advice qualification before they can offer debt advice unassisted. Advisers should also be required to undergo continuing professional development
  • The Government should appoint a ‘Debt Advice Tsar’ to co-ordinate Mr Wyman’s recommendations

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article