Payday Lenders Under Investigation – Latest OFT Compliance Review Update

On November 26 2013, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued an update on its compliance review of the UK’s 50 leading payday lenders.
Since the last update in September, no more lenders have exited the market, so it remains the case that 19 of these 50 lenders have ceased trading or now concentrate on other areas of consumer credit.
However, the most eye-catching news from the latest update is that six of the 50 lenders are under investigation by the OFT. When the final report was published in March 2013, all 50 firms were warned to improve their practices and procedures or face possible enforcement action. In the case of 15 more lenders, the OFT is ‘reviewing detailed evidence’, which may or may not lead to a formal investigation. The ultimate sanction available to the OFT following an investigation is to remove a firm’s Consumer Credit Licence.
With 19 lenders having left the market, six under investigation and 15 having evidence reviewed, this means that, at most, 10 of the 50 lenders have so far satisfied the OFT that they are compliant.
The main areas of concern identified by the OFT in the compliance review were:
• Lenders not carrying out affordability assessments
• Not explaining sufficiently and clearly how payments will be collected
• Use of “aggressive” methods to recover debts
• The treatment of borrowers in financial difficulty
The OFT press release on the subject used some rather stark language to describe its findings, which included: “Evidence of widespread irresponsible lending”, “Too many people are granted loans they cannot afford to repay” and “Payday lenders’ revenues are heavily reliant on those customers who fail to repay their original loan in full on time.”
So it remains to be seen what the outcome will be for these 50 firms, or how strict the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be with payday lenders when it takes over as the consumer credit regulator in April 2014. The payday loan landscape is changing all the time, with the FCA proposing new rules in areas such as loan rollovers, use of continuous payment authority, advertising and affordability checks. Earlier in November 2013, the Government announced it would impose a cap on the total cost of lending.
Other lenders who were not amongst the 50 leading lenders have previously had their Consumer Credit Licences revoked by the OFT. These include MCO Capital Ltd, who breached Money Laundering requirements; and B2B International UK Ltd and Loansdirect2u.com Ltd, two linked companies for whom a director failed to disclose his previous convictions.


New Law To Cap Payday Loan Costs

In late November 2013, the Government announced that it will cap the costs of payday loans. The cap will be effected via amendments to the Banking Reform Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament and which is expected to become law in 2015.
There are currently no details of the level at which the cap will be imposed, and the Government has confirmed that it will be up to the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to decide this.
This announcement goes a step further than a November 2012 announcement that the FCA would be granted the power to cap payday loan interest rates. Now the FCA will be compelled to act, and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP was at pains to stress that the new cap would apply to the total cost of credit, not just to the headline interest rate.
“We’re going to have a cap on the total cost of credit – we’re looking at the whole package, not just the interest fee, but also the arrangement fees as well as the penalty fees. This is all about having a banking system that works for hardworking people and making sure some of the absolutely outrageous fees and unacceptable practices are dealt with,” commented Mr Osborne.
The announcement appeared to have taken the FCA by surprise. Stella Creasy MP, who has vigorously campaigned for a clampdown on payday lenders, said that the FCA had abandoned discussions regarding a cap only a few weeks earlier as it did not think the political will existed to impose one. Following the latest announcement, in a statement on its website, the FCA said: “We need to gather more information before we can cap the cost of credit. This is a complex issue and there are many different aspects to consider to ensure that we get a cap that works well for the UK market. That means researching it, economic analysis and then publicly consulting on its use.”
In a statement, trade body the Consumer Finance Association suggested the cap could have unwanted consequences. “Research from other countries where a cap has been introduced, suggests price controls would lead to a reduction in access to credit, and open up a larger market for illegal lenders,” said a spokesperson.
Payday lending is increasingly becoming a political issue. Without making firm policy commitments, Labour leader Ed Miliband MP has suggested he would like to ban payday loan advertisements from children’s television, to give councils powers to prevent payday loan shops opening and to impose a windfall tax on lenders’ profits.
Other states have already enacted similar legislation. Australia limits interest rates to 4% per month and upfront fees to 20% of the loan. Whatever the rights and wrongs of needing to quote Annual Percentage Rates of several thousand pounds on advertisements, it cannot be disputed that payday loans are an expensive form of credit.


New Conduct Rules For Cmcs Proposed

In late November 2013, the Claims Management Regulator (CMR) at the Ministry of Justice unveiled proposed amendments to the Conduct of Authorised Persons rules for claims management companies (CMCs).

The main requirements proposed in the consultation paper include: a requirement to establish that claims have a realistic chance of success before submitting them; new obligations to provide evidence to back up claims; and the need to conduct thorough audits of data obtained, e.g. sources of marketing leads.

In the main, this will be achieved by massively expanding General Rule 2, which currently reads simply: ‘‘A business shall conduct itself responsibly”. Instead there will be six bullet point obligations under this main heading, which will include:

• “Take all reasonable steps to investigate the existence and merits of a potential claim before presenting it to a third party.”
• “Make representations to a third party that substantiate and evidence the basis of the claim, are specific to each claim and are not fraudulent, false, or misleading.”
• “Take all reasonable steps in relation to any arrangement with third parties to confirm that any referrals, leads or data have been obtained in accordance with the requirements of the legislation and Rules.”

The paper also provides a new definition of competence which key personnel within CMCs must meet, specifically that they have a “working knowledge of the legislation and rules relating to regulated claims management services.”

The new rules would apply to all CMCs, whether they handle matters related to financial services, personal injury or another activity.

The consultation paper acknowledges the main reasons behind the proposals by saying: “The new proposals are designed to better deal with the poor practices of some CMCs, which will assist consumers with valid claims in getting their claims dealt with promptly by eliminating the congestion caused in the systems of financial services providers and the Financial Ombudsman Service through poor or speculative claims.”

The Executive Summary goes on to make reference to research indicating that many CMCs are submitting payment protection insurance claims without taking reasonable steps to establish whether the customer ever purchased the product.

CMCs are invited to respond to the consultation by January 9 2014 at the latest.

These new rules will be just the latest in a series of changes to the regulatory landscape for CMCs. Earlier in November, it was announced that the CMR was to be given the power to fine companies for non-compliance. 2013 has also seen CMCs subject to new requirements regarding: the disclosure of their regulatory status, displaying terms and conditions on their websites, a ban on verbal contracts, the need to alert customers within 14 days if they are subject to regulatory enforcement action, a ban on issuing advertisements that offer cash inducements and a ban on receiving referral fees.



Do All Financial Advisers Need Consumer Credit Authorisation?

A number of financial advisory firms are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of clear guidance over whether they require consumer credit authorisation. At present, this authorisation comes in the shape of a Consumer Credit Licence issued by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), but from April 2014 it will be the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that is responsible for consumer credit regulation. The FCA is already accepting applications from firms who will require its authorisation from April onwards.

It is fairly clear that any firm engaged in any of the credit activities currently regulated by the OFT requires a licence for this. These activities are: consumer credit, consumer hire, credit brokerage, debt adjusting, debt counselling, debt collecting, debt administration, provision of credit information services and acting as a credit reference agency.

The FCA currently regulates most first-charge mortgage business, which includes all standard residential mortgage contracts. Most mortgage brokers, while their primary authorisation is with the FCA, also choose to take out a Consumer Credit License to allow them to transact other types of loan business. For example, second charge mortgages currently fall under the OFT’s licensing regime.

Since the start of 2013, FCA-regulated firms giving pensions and investment advice have been subject to the requirements of the Retail Distribution Review. One of the new requirements is the need to charge their customers fees for the advice given, with advisers no longer permitted to receive commission payments from providers. Any firm which allows a customer to spread their advice fee across more than four instalments requires a credit license.

The biggest area of doubt at present is whether investment advisers who may give generic advice on debts during the course of their work fall under the licensing regime. For example, an adviser who offers investment advice may see that a customer has several personal debts, and may advise them to pay off those debts before considering investment of a lump sum. Does this constitute debt counselling?

Unfortunately, it appears there is still no final answer from the authorities on this. In September 2013, Positive Solutions, one of the UK’s largest financial adviser networks, said all its members would need a licence “to be able to talk to clients about their full financial situation, including their debt arrangements, and to be able to introduce or refer clients to other brokers”. You may take the view that it is better to be safe than sorry on this issue, but many advisers are understandably unwilling to pay fees for credit authorisation without unambiguous confirmation that it is required.

In November 2013, trade magazine Financial Adviser was still reporting that the FCA and OFT had failed to provide definitive guidance and had instead suggested firms take independent legal advice on this issue. The magazine first raised the issue back in July under the provocative headline “Do you need a consumer credit license? Don’t ask FCA or OFT.”

It is to be hoped that additional clarification on this matter will follow very shortly.


Is The FCA Showing Signs Of Being A Tougher Regulator?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over as principal regulator of the UK’s financial services industry in April 2013, promising to be very different to its predecessor the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

So what evidence have we seen of this so far? The FCA has issued some 86 Final Notices – notices of disciplinary action against regulated firms – since its foundation, with total fines imposed exceeding £300 million. However, the number of such notices issued by the FSA in its final eight months of operation was actually higher than this.

Most of the £300 million is accounted for by a few large fines against investment banks – JP Morgan Chase was fined £137.6 million for market abuse and Rabobank was fined £105 million for manipulation of LIBOR. However, the advisory sector has also felt the force of the FCA – network Sesame was fined £6.2 million for failing to prevent unsuitable advice, while Andrew Jeffery was forced to pay £150,000 for insurance fraud and making false statements to the FCA. In addition to the fine, which represents a significant amount for a sole trader, Mr Jeffery was banned from working in financial services.

Mark Bentley-Leek, and his business partner Mustafa Dervish, of Bentley-Leek Financial Management, were also banned for irregularities in property transactions. Numerous other financial advisers have lost their authorisations for failing to submit returns to the FCA, or failing to pay fees due.

However, some may remark upon the fact that major high street banks have escaped the censure of the FCA since its inception, although it should be noted that, in its final months, the FSA did impose significant fines on Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland for LIBOR manipulation. Lloyds Banking Group is reportedly under investigation as a result of findings by an undercover journalist regarding its handling of payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints.

There is also no evidence so far of the FCA using some of its other powers. The new regulator was granted the power to ban poorly designed products from being sold at an early stage, whereas previously, the FSA could take action against firms who failed to comply with its rules when selling products such as PPI, but was powerless to prevent a product with fundamental flaws being sold.

Back in September 2012, FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley spoke of the need for a new approach when he said: “When it comes to dealing with problems, regulators in the past just looked at what has happened. We will find out why it has happened. It is obvious to me that you cannot get to the bottom of what is causing harm unless you deal with the root causes of problems and the wider issues that run across firms.”

The FCA also now issues ‘Warning Notices’ when it starts an investigation of a regulated firm, but unlike with Final Notices, does not display these prominently on its website.


Lender Censured by ASA Over Marketing Texts

In November 2013, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) censured Swansea-based payday lender Cryton Ltd over several issues regarding marketing texts it had sent.

Cryton, which trades as urquickcash.com, sent text messages to multiple recipients which read:

“Your money is waiting to be transferred [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][sic] you have passed the credit check just complete the form at http://urquickcash.com to get up to £1000 transferred [sic] ASAP,” and “Hi, you have been accepted for £1000 to be transferred to your account ASAP just fill out the form at http://urquickcash.com you have passed the credit check.”

Cryton pointed out that the texts were sent by a third party on its behalf, but the ASA ruled that the firm was still responsible for ensuring the texts complied with the Code of Advertising Practice.

The ASA said that the texts were inappropriate as they made claims that the recipients had already been approved for loans, claims which could not be substantiated. The watchdog also commented that the texts incorrectly implied that Cryton was in possession of sufficient information about the recipients in order to make decisions about whether to lend; and also that the texts had been sent without the recipients’ consent.

Cryton was banned from sending the texts again, was instructed not to target people who had not consented to receiving marketing communications, and was also ordered not to falsely imply they held data on prospective customers.

Cryton was previously censured by the ASA in March 2013 when it sent texts regarding payment protection insurance claims services. The texts read “Records passed to us show you’re entitled to a refund approximately £2130 in compensation from mis-selling of PPI on your credit card or loan.” On this occasion, the ASA also ruled that the texts were unsolicited and implied that the company held personal information when they did not.

As of November 26 2013, the urquickcash website, which is hosted in India, had been suspended.

In January 2013, the ASA censured Nottingham-based payday lender Instant Cash Loans Ltd, which trades as The Money Shop, over its failure to quote the Annual Percentage Rate on a television advert. Back in September 2012, the same company was found to have failed to display example repayment information sufficiently prominently.

These examples illustrate how important it is for firms to ensure that their advertising material complies with the ASA Code, and with the rules of their regulator, before issuing it.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


Is the Money Advice Service value for money?

The Money Advice Service (MAS) was set up by the Government to offer advice on financial matters via its website, by phone and face-to-face via a network of Money Advisers. It was originally called the Consumer Finance Education Body, and assumed responsibilities from the Financial Capability division of former regulator the Financial Services Authority on its foundation in 2010. It seeks to improve understanding and knowledge of finance and to improve people’s ability to manage their financial affairs. It has recently conducted a high-profile television advertising campaign using the slogan ‘What does MA think?’

It provides a very comprehensive website, containing information on:

• Managing your money, e.g. budget planning and money saving tips
• Dealing with life events, e.g. redundancy, divorce
• Money topics, e.g. life insurance and savings products

The site also includes its own price comparison facility, similar to that offered by the well-known commercial operators in this area.

Most controversially though, the MAS is not funded via general taxation, but via a levy on Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated firms. In 2012/13 the MAS received £46.3 million of funding in this way, according to an FCA consultation paper. By improving the financial literacy of the general public, it could be conjectured that the existence of MAS would make people less likely to seek financial advice from their local adviser. Given that advisers have to pay for something that may result in them getting less business, understandably the MAS is not popular amongst many independent financial advisers (IFAs).

Back in July 2011, IFA promotional website Unbiased.co.uk accused the MAS of failing to meet promises to direct customers to IFAs. In September 2011, the Financial Times Intermediary Forum heard from advisers calling for the MAS to be given specific performance targets, e.g. the number of people it helps to get into the saving habit.

In April 2012, a member of staff from advisory firm PanaceaIFA phoned the MAS, posing as a customer, and established that their adviser was unaware of the impending Retail Distribution Review. Derek Bradley, chief executive of PanaceaIFA, had already expressed his fears about the MAS by saying: “Should [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][IFAs] fund a project that has the potential – intentionally or not – to put them out of business by providing advice that firms would and could charge for post Retail Distribution Review?”

Advisers have also questioned whether ‘Money Advice Service’ is an appropriate name. Whilst what the MAS does may meet a dictionary definition of giving advice, it does not carry out the same adviser function as would your local regulated practitioner. It has been suggested that its role of providing general information means that ‘Money Information Service’ or similar would be more appropriate.

The MAS is accountable to the authorities in several ways. Its board of 12 people is appointed by the financial regulator, the FCA, and its Chairman and Chief Executive need to be personally approved by HM Treasury. Its annual business plan and budget are subject to approval by the FCA, and it must also consult with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; the Office of Fair Trading; and the FCA’s Financial Services Consumer Panel and Smaller Business Practitioner panels regarding the business plan and budget.
So the MAS may provide a valuable service, given the regularly available statistics about levels of financial illiteracy in this country, but is it appropriate for the advisory community to pay for it?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


FCA mortgage director speaks about MMR and mortgage regulation

In early November 2013, Linda Woodall, Director of Mortgages and Consumer Lending at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), addressed the Mortgage Industry Conference and Exhibition of trade body the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). In her speech, she set out to firms present how the supervisory approach of the FCA is different from its predecessor, the Financial Conduct Authority.

She summarised the differences in three ways:

·         The FCA makes greater use of judgment

·         The FCA is more forward-looking – it will identify risks earlier

·         The FCA is more outcome focused – it is concerned with the end result for the client rather than simply whether processes and procedures have been followed

In respect of the second issue, Ms Woodall cited the recent exercise with interest-only borrowers. The FCA found that 48% of interest-only borrowers had a shortfall in their repayment plan and a further 10% had no repayment arrangements at all. By working with firms, the FCA has ensured that customers have been warned of these issues in good time to make alternative arrangements.

She went on to summarise the FCA’s approach to supervising firms. All firms are classified as CF1, CF2, CF3 or CF4 according to the regulatory risk they are likely to pose. The highest risk category, CF1, will include the major high street banks, while most small financial advisory firms will be in the lowest category, CF4.

Then Ms Woodall explained the three pillars of the FCA’s supervisory approach. The first, the Firm Systematic Framework, is a tool which decides the level of monitoring a firm should receive based on the risk they pose. The second, Event-Driven Work, concerns their response to unexpected events, such as increases in complaints or mis-selling episodes. Finally, Issues and Products relates to issues identified during the FCA’s ongoing analysis of market sectors.

Ms Woodall urged firms to put fair treatment of customers at the heart of their corporate culture. She cited the example of Clydesdale Bank who were fined £8.9 million by the FCA over their treatment of borrowers who were undercharged on their mortgage payments. Clydesdale’s approach of demanding that all affected borrowers swiftly make up their shortfalls did not effectively balance commercial issues with fair treatment of customers. “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Clydesdale] wrongly sought to prioritise its own commercial interests by ordering immediate repayment from customers. This firm is paying the price for its decision to put its bottom line ahead of customer needs,” commented Ms Woodall.

Ms Woodall thanked the CML for its “constructive engagement” with the regulator regarding the Mortgage Market Review (MMR). The MMR will be introduced in April 2014 and will bring about a significant change in the mortgage advice arena.

The new rules to be introduced via the MMR include:

·         A ban on self-certification mortgages

·         More rigorous requirements relating to lenders’ checking of affordability

·         A ban on non-advised sales in most cases

·         Interest-only mortgages only permitted where the borrower has a credible repayment plan[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


FCA consults on fees for credit firms

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set out its proposals for the fees it intends to charge in the 2014/15 financial year. The FCA’s fees can be divided into the following categories: application fee, periodic fee, levies to fund the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and levies to fund the Money Advice Service (MAS).

Consumer credit firms applying for limited permission can expect to pay an application fee of £100 if their consumer credit income is £50,000 or less, and £500 otherwise.

The FCA usually classifies applications for authorisation into one of three categories – straightforward, moderately complex and complex. However, they are now proposing to introduce a new ‘very complex’ category specifically for credit reference agencies when applying for full permission. The FCA says it expects these firms will place “a higher demand on our resources”. Payday lenders, logbook lenders and home-collected credit agencies will fall into the complex category, while peer-to-peer lenders and other types of lender will be classed as moderately complex.

Straightforward applications will cost £1,000, moderately complex applications £5,000, complex applications £10,000 and very complex applications £15,000. A firm applying for both consumer credit authorisation and other FCA permissions will pay the higher of their two applicable fees – application fees for other firms can be up to £25,000. Firms already authorised by the FCA who need to add consumer credit permissions will pay half the usual consumer credit authorisation fee for their firm type.

In addition to a fee on application, firms also pay what is known as a ‘periodic fee’, which is paid annually. Firms are allocated to a particular ‘fee block’ based on the activities they undertake, and pay a periodic fee appropriate to that block.

There will only be two fee blocks for consumer credit firms – those with limited permission and those with full permission. The amount of the fee will be subject to a separate consultation in March 2014, but current estimates suggest that limited permission firms will pay £250 if their annual consumer credit income is £50,000 or less, £400 of it is more than £50,000 but not more than £100,000, and £500 if it is more than £100,000 but not more than £250,000. For full permission firms, the charges are estimated at £500, or £1,000 if income is more than £100,000 but not more than £250,000. Firms with an income of more than £250,000 will pay the fee for the £100,000 to £250,000 band plus 23p (limited permission) and 30p (full permission) for every £1,000 of income above £250,000.

Credit firms who only offer not for profit debt counselling will be exempt from application and periodic fees. Credit unions will have their application fees capped at £200.

Firms with limited permission will pay a flat fee, perhaps between £25 and £50, to fund the FOS. Those with full permission can expect to pay an as yet unspecified amount based on their annual consumer credit income. Not-for-profit bodies will be exempt from the FOS levy.

All FCA regulated firms also pay a levy to fund the MAS, an independent body which provides general information to allow consumers to manage their finances. The MAS levy will not be payable by firms holding limited permission, but once they hold full permission, they can expect to pay a fee. The consultation on this will take place in March 2014.

The paper stresses that funding from firms it regulates is the FCA’s only source of income.

Firms have until January 6 2014 to respond to the consultation paper, and, except where further consultations will take place; the final information on fees to be charged will be announced in February or March.


Ministry of Justice reviews CMC websites and finds issues

In its October 2013 Business Bulletin, the Claims Management Regulator (CMR) at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spoke of what it described as a ‘high level of non-compliance’ on companies’ websites, making specific reference to the new requirements introduced in July.

The CMR has found that a ‘significant’ number of claims management companies (CMCs) still describe themselves on their website as being regulated by the MoJ. Companies should now be using the statement: ‘Regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities.’ There is no flexibility over the wording to be used, so this exact statement should appear on all CMC websites. Although the Claims Management Regulator is part of the MoJ, it has been suggested that the old wording could amount to an inference that the government has endorsed the firm.

It is also reported that a smaller number of CMCs have not complied with the requirement to prominently display their terms and conditions on their site.

These two conditions are respectively Client Specific Rules 6(d) and 11 in the CMR’s Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules. These changes were amongst the new requirements announced in April and which came into force in July. Other new requirements introduced at this time included a ban on verbal contracts and the need for companies to alert all their customers within 14 days if they are subject to regulatory enforcement action.

In addition, from April 1 2013, CMCs were banned from issuing advertisements that offered cash inducements, and were banned from receiving referral fees. It is also now possible for a customer to refer a complaint about a CMC to the Legal Ombudsman if they are not satisfied with the company’s response.

Regarding the website content issues raised in the Bulletin, CMCs were warned to make the necessary changes to their websites immediately, or face enforcement action. The content of the Bulletin is a timely reminder to CMCs of the various new requirements which have been imposed on them during the course of 2013, and companies need to make sure they are complying with all of their new obligations.

The October Bulletin also made reference to the recent letter from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to CMCs regarding payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints. CMCs are requested to work with financial businesses to resolve complaints quickly, and to provide a completed FOS complaint questionnaire, signed by the client, whenever a PPI complaint is referred to the FOS.

Other issues covered in the Bulletin include an update on the programme of visits to assess compliance with the referral fee ban, a warning from the Solicitors Regulation Authority regarding personal injury claims and notice of the CMR’s intention to consult both over new rules for CMCs and fee levels. The full Bulletin can be viewed at http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/claims-regulation/cmr-bulletin/cmr-business-bulletin-21-1-13.pdf

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