Association of Arrears Mediators (AAM) launched
The AAM, which will officially launch on the 1st February, will establish and maintain a professional code of conduct, aligning the industry with similar requirements placed on mortgage lenders, the broader financial services community and other professional practices.
The AAM has been created by the five major providers, who collectively account for around 90% of the professional instructions within the sector:
• Debt Management Services Ltd
• Excel Collection & Enquiry Services Ltd
• NCI Resources Ltd
• PDP Management Services Ltd
• Property Services Partnership Ltd
The objectives of the AAM include ensuring that the already high quality services its members provide are delivered in a uniform and consistent manner to all lending institutions, thus allowing them to provide the necessary legal and regulatory reporting more easily and fulfil their compliance obligations under the ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ principles.
The new eligibility and ongoing code of conduct rules include:
• All field agents must be fully licensed by the OFT and comply with all relevant regulations
• Consistent training programmes for all field agents and internal staff
• Performance monitoring of all field agents and staff
• Fully adhering to the ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ (TCF) policy
• A robust complaints procedure
• Comprehensive Professional Indemnity cover
An independent, high-profile chairman has been approached, and he is expected to take office from February 2010. Mervyn Pilley, an experienced membership professional, has been appointed as secretary general.
Commenting on the reasons for the creation of AAM, Mervyn Pilley said; “The professional arrears mediation industry, originally known as arrears counselling, has been around for some twenty years and has now reached the size where it needs its own dedicated trade association. Our key objectives are to support our members and to:
• Create consistent, high quality standards and best practice throughout our sector to help members support lenders in their regulatory obligations with the Financial Services Authority and other interested groups.
• Help our members effectively support debtors in their relationship with clients
• Ensure our industry services are consistent with FSA guidelines.
• Achieve recognition as the recognised trade body within the arrears mediation sector”.
For further details about the AAM see www.arrearsmediators.org.uk