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The Credit Services Association is to vote on a proposal to partner with Trading Standards

By CreditMan Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Credit Services Association is to vote on a proposal to partner with Trading Standards to create a Primary Authority Scheme that will benefit businesses, support compliance and serve as an alternative and equivalent to FCA authorisation.

The Association is seeking a ‘Co-ordinated Partnership’ with West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTS) – a partnership that will allow it to act as a Primary Authority to give CSA members assured, consistent and uniform advice on matters subject to Trading Standards enforcement.

Members will be asked to vote on the scheme at the CSA’s AGM on 3 February and are invited to consider the benefits this scheme would offer not only to their business but also the wider industry.

Claire Aynsley, Head of Regulatory Compliance and Standards, says that the aim of establishing the scheme is to have one dedicated Primary Authority that understands the industry: “WYTS already has a wealth of knowledge and experience of the debt collection and debt purchase from previous work with member companies, which is why we believe they are the ideal partner.”

As a Primary Authority, the WYTS will act as the single point of contact to deal with all referrals and complaints, rather than having to deal with multiple Trading Standards authorities, and advice will be issued through the CSA (as the partnership co-ordinator). This advice can cover legal observations, interpretation of the law, and advice on regulatory procedures and compliance systems. This approach will prevent potentially contradictory advice or ineffective dispute resolution when local authorities disagree, this in turn means members can invest with confidence in products, practices and procedures where change is necessary.

“A key area of focus for the CSA over the past 18 months has been the changing regulatory landscape,” says Claire. “We quickly realised that some members, especially SMEs, would fall outside of FCA authorisation and so it was important to find an alternative to prevent them from being disadvantaged.”

In pursuing a Co-ordinated Partnership with a Primary Authority, CSA members will have a ‘brand’ that clearly identifies them as being part of the scheme, as well as a reduced financial burden for SMEs that do not have a legal resource or in-house regulatory expertise. But it is not just SMEs who will benefit: “All members will have access to the same guidance and “Assured Advice” as this will be co-ordinated through the CSA,” Claire continues.

“It will allow us to proactively maintain the integrity of our Code of Practice and bring improved practices industry-wide. Ultimately though we hope this new member benefit will lessen the need for further regulatory action in the future, reducing the likelihood of more costly requirements on business in the name of compliance.”

From a practical perspective the Association’s Head Office administration costs will absorb the cost of setting up and running the scheme and a new independent committee, chaired by Lord Tom Chandos, will oversee the Primary Authority Scheme to maintain independence.

In preparation of the vote the CSA conducted a webinar about the scheme and the proposed benefits, which is now available through the CSA webinar channel for those who could not attend the live broadcast. Additionally Jackie White from West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTS) will be presenting at the CSA Members’ meeting & AGM before the vote.


Link to Primary Authority Webinar - https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/9369/137949