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OFT warns firms over non-compliant IVA ads

The Office Fair Trading has warned 17 firms promoting Individual Voluntary Arrangements that it considers their adverts and websites potentially mislead consumers.

This follows a compliance sweep undertaken by the OFT in November of 124 adverts in national newspapers and 57 websites promoting and marketing IVAs.

Some of the claims made about IVAs were considered by the OFT to be in breach of its guidance for consumer credit licence holders engaged in the provision of debt management services, including IVAs.

Examples of misleading statements includ falsely claiming that “up to 90 per cent of your debt may be written off” when the maximum would be 60 – 70 per cent, failing to state that set-up and administrative fees will be required, and failing to display the required warnings with the same prominence as the savings promised.

The businesses have been given four weeks to respond and provide evidence of compliance. The OFT will consider taking formal action against any licence holder which fail to address its concerns.

OFT senior director of markets and projects Alan Williams says: “IVAs are still a solution for many, but those supplying them must be clear and honest about what they can and cannot achieve for consumers in debt and the possible negative implications of entering into such arrangements.

“IVAs are only one of a number of options for people in debt and should only be recommended when in the best interest of the consumer. We will take firm action against businesses which engage in unfair and misleading practices when promoting IVAs.”


Bare truth

Chris Gladman’s letter last week raises some important issues. It should be appreciated that HM Revenue & Customs has not stated that bare trusts for minors are settlements and thus within the inheritance tax regime. HMRC’s view is that it is arguable that a bare trust for a minor would be a “trust to accumulate […]

Out of Context

“I knew something was going wrong when I realised it was 1.45pm and I was still watching Mary Poppins.”Compliance consultant Adam Samuel finds it hard adjusting back to work after the Christmas break“It is reading about annuities that makes coming back to work worthwhile.”Hargreaves Lansdown’s Tom McPhail returns “I don’t have a view of the […]

All wrapped up

Clients’ portfolios can be valued, reviewed and managed online within a fund supermarket.

CML steps in to prevent ‘hard footprints’ on credit files

Brokers appear to have won their battle to ensure lenders do not leave hard footprints on customers’ files that could harm their credit rating.The Council of Mortgage Lenders wants lenders to double-check whether consumers are shopping around or making an application and has told members to only register genuine applications.The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has […]

Neptune video: Indian valuations and Modi’s pro-investment agenda

Kunal Desai, Head of Indian Equities, discusses his expectations for the Indian market and highlights the key indicators that he is watching for 2015.

In the video, Kunal addresses:

• Indian equity valuations and the importance of stock selection in gaining exposure to the earnings upgrade cycle

• The BJP’s strengthening ambition in its pro-reform, pro-investment agenda


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