Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath has called on the Government to adopt the Fianna Fail bill on the Regulation of Debt Management Advisors to protect people from exploitative companies offering debt management services and also those that go out of business unexpectedly.
 
Deputy McGrath said: ‘The collapse of Home Payments Limited highlights the need for legislation to be introduced as a matter of urgency to cover all businesses involved in debt and personal finance management. I am extremely concerned to hear today that many people have paid money to Home Payments and are now in very difficult and stressful circumstances because the company has ceased trading with immediate effect.
 
‘Over the last couple of years there has been a significant increase in the number of companies offering to help people manage their debts and offer advice on their personal finances. There is a legitimate role for these services but it is an area that is badly in need of regulation.
 
‘This new bill, which we have already published and which I will be bringing before the Dáil next month, would require debt management advisors to be regulated by the Central Bank and would prohibit such advisors from handling client monies themselves.
 
‘Fianna Fáil believes that in the absence of any system of bonds or the type of regulation that solicitors’ client accounts are subject to, it is inappropriate debt advisors to hold a client’s money. This can lead to a situation where companies are holding large amounts of money and if something goes wrong, as we see with Home Payments, a very serious situation arises for the clients immediately.’
 
‘This Government has promised to help people in difficulty and tackle this issue. I will be putting the Regulation of Debt Management Advisors Bill before the Dáil next month and I’m calling on the Government to accept this bill and ensure people are better protected,’ concluded Deputy McGrath.