Paul Smith, CEO

Firstly, a very warm welcome to you in my first newsletter with the IPA!

My first few weeks have been spent familiarising myself with the workings of the IPA, getting to know the Board, all the team at the IPA, and a number of our key stakeholders. I have been impressed with the very deep knowledge, passion, and energy that the team bring to the IPA, plus the commitment, support and input of the Board in everything we do.

The last few weeks have seen us embark upon the free-to-members Essential Briefings initiative, with an initial focus on Anti Money Laundering (AML). Having worked on a Financial Crime and Reputational Risk Committee in the past, AML is a topic that is close to my heart. Being effective in this space is hugely important for all of us, and amongst our broader regulatory activity you can expect us to have a sustained focus in this area of our training and supervisory activity.

Members should also be aware of the increase in fraud relating to the Covid financial support measures. I draw your attention to a recent news story from the Insolvency Service on the subject, detailing two companies wound up in the courts that fraudulently applied for Covid support loans worth thousands of pounds.

My first few weeks have also seen FCA action on debt packagers. The IPA have placed their full support behind the actions taken, which is consistent with our pioneering approach to the regulation of Volume Providers in the IVA space.

Covid protocols permitting, we are excited to be back “on the road” from September onwards, with our Regional Roadshows kicking off the IPA’s autumn events series, which will give us a chance to say hello to many new and familiar faces. I hope I will get the chance to meet many of you as part of this programme, or at other member events.

I am excited at the prospect of working with you and my colleagues over the coming months to build upon the excellent work of my predecessor, Michelle Thorp, whom I wish every success in her new role.