20th August 2015 – The Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA) and the Association of Professional Debt Solution Intermediaries (APDSI) have today announced the merger of their debt solution trade associations. The strategic move creates an association of more than 40 debt management firms and a number of insolvency specialist and support providers to the sector.
The merged association, which will operate under the DEMSA brand, has appointed industry veteran, Kevin Still as CEO. Under his leadership it will show continued commitment to supporting members of all sizes as well as the individuals who use their services.
The merger creates a stronger association that aims to promote the value of the paid for debt solution sector and pro-actively raise standards through member participation, to deliver positive consumer outcomes. As a result of the merger, DEMSA now represents more than 300,000 Debt Management Plans, amounting to over 2 million credit agreements. In addition, the combined association represents over 40 debt management firms across all legal jurisdictions and a number of insolvency firms and specialist business support
Kevin Still, MCICM, has been a principal trainer for DEMSA and APDSI over the last 18 months, giving him a strong understanding of both organisations. In his new role as CEO, he will work closely with the applications, supervisory and enforcement teams at the FCA alongside other regulatory bodies, trade associations and industry influencers. The merger will also see the expansion of the board to represent a cross-section of the expanded
“This is a strategic merger of two associations to create a DEMSA that can best represent our members and support higher standards for the benefit of the credit sector and the public alike,” explains Kevin Still, CEO for DEMSA. “We have used the recent FCA Thematic Review on the suitability of debt advice as a major driver to improve industry standards.
“One of the overriding strategic imperatives is for the merged association to represent a true industry voice and provide a genuine conduit with the primary sector regulators and ombudsmen, notably the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
“This merger comes at a critical stage for the majority of members, where most have applied for full permissions with the FCA and are now subject to supplemental information requests and visits. We want to take advantage of the FCA information requests to members from May 2014 onwards, in order to establish a meaningful data gathering initiative to assist lobbying, promotion, creditor initiatives and responses to current regulatory consultations.”
Richard Wharton, General Secretary for DEMSA, adds: “This is an exciting merger, which brings together two established and respected organisations and combines that expertise and influence for the benefit of its members.
“With Kevin Still at the helm, DEMSA is set to tackle the challenges facing our industry and encourage higher standards that give the public and the credit industry confidence in the debt management sector. One of our key objectives is growing the membership base in terms of volume of members and commercial debt solutions. This will be supported by a major commitment to accredited training, in association with the IMA and through DEMSA’s CPD programme for members.”
The merger is effective immediately, with an early meeting of the full membership on 10th September 2015 at the Hallmark Hotel near Manchester Airport. In August 2015, DEMSA is also moving to new offices in Leeds with training, catering and parking facilities.