It seems that there has been a meaningful prosecution of directors involved in the PPI and unlicensed financial advice sector, with the three directors of Consortium Technology Ltd (“Consortium”) being disqualified for a combined period of 26 years.

Consortium offered services to individuals to reduce credit card debt and/or recover payment protection insurance refunds (“PPI”). The Insolvency Service stated that Consortium made inaccurate statements and omissions in cold calls and emails to the public and had misled the public into paying £12million. See: Link to Insolvency Service Report

Opinion

I was pleased to see that there has actually been a serious attempt by the Insolvency Service to make an example of people who clearly have taken advantage of those who are in unfortunate financial circumstances, particularly in relation to “schemes” to allegedly reduce debt. There might well be room for a product that in some way reduces a debt burden without the need for a formal insolvency process, however, such a process should only be introduced after the adviser has a proper understanding of a debtor’s personal finances and of the other methods of dealing with debt. Too often we see debtors tied into schemes for years on end that are simply not fit for purpose when they should have simply petitioned for their own bankruptcy. Whilst this area of business is regulated nowadays, as far as I am aware, there is no requirement for specific qualifications in terms of advisers.

As for misleading cold calls? I continue to get them at least twice a week for PPI, debt issues and for claims for accidents I have never had. Whilst the Consortium decision might be a step in the right direction and a mild deterrent, more scrutiny and action is required. 

Mark Phillips
Partner

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