Date: Tuesday 15th November 2011
Location: Offices of Henderson Loggie, Edinburgh
Interviewee: Michael McGowan (DAS Approved Money Adviser)
In my opinion DAS is a unique product available to people who want to repay their debts in full but require a longer period to do so, and also for people who have assets that may need to be realised if utilising other methods of debt relief such as a protected trust deed. You can read about it in a lot more detail at the following link: Debt Arrangement Scheme
The Debt Arrangement Scheme is only concerned with the disposable income that a person has rather than their assets (such as a home or car for example). For example, someone who has a lot of equity in their home might choose DAS in preference to a protected trust deed or sequestration where the equity would somehow have to be released. The individual must be able to repay their debts in full via DAS, no matter the length of time that will be taken to achieve this.
I am an accredited DAS Approved Money Adviser working within the Henderson Loggie team. DAS Approved Money Advisers are qualified to work directly with a client to set up DAS for them. I undertake telephone interviews with clients as well as meeting with them on a face to face basis to discuss their options, needs and view for the future. If it is clear that a Debt Arrangement Scheme is the appropriate way forward, as the DAS Approved Money Adviser I prepare the paperwork in order for the DAS to be submitted to the DAS Administrator (Accountant in Bankruptcy) for approval. In conjunction with my colleague Lauren White in our Edinburgh office, I also liaise with the creditors to inform them of the DAS application.
We cover the whole of Scotland. Our company headquarters are in Dundee and we operate offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
We’ll have an initial telephone conversation in order to get a feel for the facts and circumstances involved. If it seems as though the Debt Arrangement Scheme might be appropriate for the client we will then offer to meet in person. Meeting in person is very valuable as it allows us to get to know our client and our client to get to know us. It also gives our client the best possible opportunity to talk through any queries or concerns that they might have. We’re flexible about the location of the meeting; they have been held at the home of our client, at their workplace or at one of our office locations in the past.
Many clients are worried that their creditors will continue to chase them or that legal action might be started to recover the debts. In the main DAS will prevent further creditor contact and also prevent most types of legal action. Once intimation of a new DAS has been given to the DAS Administrator, no further legal action can be taken against the client for a period of around five weeks. As the DAS Approved Money Adviser this gives me the time to initiate the DAS process and ensure its’ success.
Clients are also sometimes worried about jointly and severally liable debts (commonly known as joint debts). Recent legislation to allow a joint debt payment programme via DAS may help in this respect.
Many clients are also very worried about their home and other important possessions such as their car. They are often very relieved when I inform them that in the Debt Arrangement Scheme these assets will not be taken into consideration.
In general we do not find that the Debt Arrangement Scheme affects clients professionally as it is not a form of “personal bankruptcy”. We do advise “professionals” to confirm their position with their professional body in advance. Other employees may wish to check their contracts of employment and/or speak with their HR departments to be certain that there will be no effect on their employment.
We do charge a fee to obtain our clients’ approval to enter a DAS and thereafter for the maintenance of that arrangement. These fees are drawn from the contributions that our client has agreed to make into the arrangement. The fees will be drawn during the first three years of the agreed term. It is also possible for someone to enter a DAS via the Citizens Advice Bureau without paying fees.
We often recommend other solutions including, for example, protected trust deeds or bankruptcy. We provide advice and information in connection to all potential solutions to our clients in order that they can make their own educated decisions. Ultimately it is an individual’s own decision as to which form of debt relief or debt sacrifice is most suitable for their needs.
We’re available to speak to our clients at any time. We will also contact our clients annually in order to conduct a review of their circumstances.
We believe that the Debt Arrangement Scheme is a valuable tool for many people who are suffering debt distress, but that little is known about it in some quarters. Contributing to this forum is a great way to make the facts publicly available to anyone who is considering the options open to them to deal with their own debt concerns.
Michael regrets that he cannot communicate directly with visitors about an existing Debt Arrangement Scheme being managed by another organisation or company. If this applies to you, please ask your questions in our Trust Deed Forum where Michael and the other experts will do their best to help you.
If you would like Michael and his colleagues to help you set up a Debt Arrangement Scheme please use the contact form below or make contact via the site telephone number 0800 0437201. Michael can also answer your Debt Arrangement Scheme questions in our Trust Deed Forum.