The FCA has announced that it is undertaking a thematic review of the debt management sector, in line with the commitment made in its 2017/18 Business Plan.

The scope of the FCA’s review will be based on a sample of both fee-charging and free-to-customer debt management providers in order to help the regulator build up a full picture of the sector. The FCA will look at the outcomes for customers from the service they are given as well as the initial advice process. The FCA wants to understand where there is good practice that is helping consumers to achieve positive results in dealing with their debts, as well as identifying areas for improvement.

The FCA’s scoping work for the review has been led by information that it already holds. This includes:

  • the findings from previous thematic reviews;
  • complaints data;
  • firm intelligence and information from supervisory contact with firms; and
  • firms’ applications for authorisation, which include descriptions of their approaches to debt management.

The FCA will review customer case files and visit providers to interview staff and observe their processes and dealings with customers.

The FCA states that it will take supervisory action if it finds that firms are falling short of the standards that the regulator expects.

The FCA expects to complete the review in Q1 2019.

View Review of debt management sector gets underway, 19 October 2017