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Trust Deed Introducers

Updated: 20th September 2016

Introducers of trust deeds tend to market their services, provide advice to enquirers, and then pass the cases to licensed insolvency practitioners (who actually run the arrangements).

Such introducers come in many shapes and forms. A small number may pass trust deed cases to insolvency practitioners (IPs) without any exchange of money. An example would be the Citizens Advice Bureau if they felt that a debt advice client was best served by entering a protected trust deed.

More commonly, the IP will make a payment to the referrer for the work that they’ve done on a case prior to the referral. Commercial introducers of many types (including Trust-Deed.co.uk) are funded in this manner. Some readers may be unaware as to just how wide the scope of this practice is. For example, some debt charities that don’t employ insolvency practitioners will receive payment in the same circumstances.

Most people would agree that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept of an introducer carrying out good quality work on behalf of a client which is then fairly remunerated by the insolvency practitioner (sharing a proportion of the fees that they charge).

Recent reforms of trust deeds in Scotland thankfully tackled some of the excesses that were previously taking place between certain IPs and their introducers (often at the expense of their clients and the creditors).

Surprisingly given these reforms, the trust deed market is currently experiencing a bit of a renaissance in terms of the activities of introducer firms. Spotting a loophole in the current regulatory system, firms are springing up with a view to introducing cases to trustees without themselves being regulated at all. This is despite proper debt advisers now requiring permission to operate from the Financial Conduct Authority, as has been achieved by the firm that operates Trust-Deed.co.uk.

How can you protect yourself from dodgy or incompetent trust deed introducers?

The easiest way to do this is to check on the regulatory status of any debt advisory firm you’re speaking to. If they’re an insolvency practitioner firm their website will usually clearly state which regulatory professional body governs their activities. Many Scottish insolvency practitioners will be authorised by “ICAS” for example. If they’re an FCA authorised debt advisory firm, you’ll be able to quickly find their details on the online FCA register.

What if they appear to be neither a regulated insolvency practitioner nor a regulated debt adviser? You’re best advised to very quickly find someone else to assist you. Using an unregulated service greatly increases the risk that you’ll receive inappropriate or uneducated advice right at the very time when you most need quality professional help. 

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Wylie & Bisset Grant Thornton

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