Citizens Advice Report on Individual Voluntary Arrangements

1 March 2023

As the only Recognised Professional Body solely involved in regulating insolvency practitioners, the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) welcomes Citizens Advice’s important report on Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and will continue to work with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Advertising Standards Authority and the Insolvency Service to tackle the harms that debt advertising can have on the ability of consumers to seek accurate and balanced advice. This includes carrying out our own detailed monitoring and inspection activities.

As the report highlights, IVAs are just one of many debt options available to consumers and for those with stable incomes, homeowners, or with other assets to protect, an IVA may be the most suitable solution. The report highlights a number of instances of bad practice and whilst the number of complaints the IPA receives in relation to IVAs is very low, representing just 0.03% of all IVAs registered nationally, we will carefully review the report and take action if any breaches of insolvency legislation or guidance are discovered.

As a regulator for individual Insolvency Practitioners, the IPA has long called for additional powers, including the ability to regulate firms, and we welcome the Government’s ongoing consultation on this matter. We were pleased that Citizens Advice highlighted that in the meantime we have already taken steps to strengthen oversight of the largest providers of IVA advice through issuing guidance on advertising and through additional active monitoring of calls to track the quality of advice consumers receive, both of which can lead to enforcement action. An important element of this is that the largest providers of IVAs that we regulate can only take referrals from FCA regulated companies.