The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) don't often get top billing in an NTI news bulletin, but the rafters of our cute little newsroom in Tower Hamlets have been echoing with cheering, we having heard about it clamping down on (let's be nice) some "IVA businesses".
It is reported that the FCA have caught up with something we Insolvency Practitioners have known for almost three decades; some of these businesses are nasty, cut-throat and have "manipulated people's income and spending". Apparently (and this is a shocker), some of these businesses were potentially pushing customers towards insolvency in order to earn (wait for it ...) higher fees.
The five firms who employ people who will now be seeking their own advice, or rather the more decent advice of those in reputable versions of the companies they were imitating, have stopped providing regulated debt advice (not that they ever were) until further notice of snowflakes settling on the surface of the sun.
The Guardian put it nicely, saying that this clampdown involves "debt packager" companies which apparently (and I suppose we should say 'allegedly') seek out people in debt, offer them advice and then refer to own of our own who has moved over to the dark side, for which they receive referral fees.
This practice apparently goes on ...
The FCA appeared scandalised to report that these cads use "persuasive language" to push IVA-type products for which, we read, they receive fees that are many times higher than for other debt solutions.
It would be wrong to name and shame these five businesses, who have clearly suffered enough. They are:
Assist UK Group
Two Financial Services
Consumer Money Worries
Faith Financial Solutions
None of them, it is said, recognise any irony in their corporate names and the way they are framed.