Advertising Standards Authority
The ASA ensures all advertising meets the advertising codes. This is a very
informative site about the role of the ASA and the rules on good advertising
practice. The advertising standards code can be downloaded. It contains details of
adjudication’s by subject index including numerous cases involving credit grantors.
The site also has a comprehensive step by step guide to complaints and an online
Recently created through the merger of three consumer organisations –
Energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council (including the Welsh
and Scottish Consumer Councils). The new approach claims to allow a more
joined-up consumer advocacy, with a single organisation speaking with a more
powerful voice and able to more readily bring cross-sector expertise to issues of
Energy Watch – see consumer focus
Finance Industry Standards Association
FISA is a joint initiative of brokers and lenders in the secured loan (or second
mortgage) sector to enhance, but not enforce, standards in the industry. FISA’s
purpose is to help members comply with Consumer Credit Act and FSA regulation as well as the FISA Code. The website includes a list of lender members, its code
of conduct and responses to consultations. For the borrower the site includes an
information guide about how secured loans work.
Financial Ombudsman Service
The independent service for settling disputes between consumers and businesses
providing financial services. This site provides information about the scope of the
Ombudsman scheme, how to complain and the type of redress available. The
complaint form can be completed on screen. Also provides useful case studies via
its “Ombudsman News” bulletins and some useful factsheets relating to complaint
areas such as cheques, insurance and endowments.
The Financial Services Authority
The FSA is the UK’s financial services watchdog. The site contains a huge amount
of material including the FSA handbook where the Insurance and Mortgage Codes
of Business can be accessed (of particular interest for Money Advisers are sections
12 and 13 of the MCOB). The site has consultations and policy statements on
financial services issues. There is a search tool which identifies FSA authorised
individuals and companies and provides further details including their disciplinary
history. For consumers, the Money Made Clear link is an in depth guide to financial
products including mortgages, including calculation tools for testing affordability of
products and comparisons of products.
Insolvency Practitioners Association
The Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) is a membership body recognised
for the purposes of authorising (licensing) insolvency practitioners (IPs) under the
Insolvency Act 1986. The site mainly contains information for members but also
includes a guide to professional conduct.
The Office of Fair Trading
The OFT is responsible for making markets work for consumers. This is a very
informative site with significant emphasis on credit and debt issues for which it
includes a consumer information section. Various reports of the OFT on consumer
credit and unfair contract terms are downloadable. It also has a new “Advisor
Resources” section written specifically to provide resource information to different
categories of consumer advisers.
Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK
communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio,
telecommunications and wireless communications services. The site contains
advice for customers, information about licensing and complaints.
The regulatory body for all Gas and Electricity companies. The site contains
information about the energy company regulations, codes, licensing and
The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the economic regulator of the
water and sewerage industry in England and Wales. Ofwat’s role is to seek value
for consumers. The site contains access to help for vulnerable groups, the
regulations, codes of conduct and customer complaints.
Money Made Clear – see FSA
Social Security and Child Support Commissioners
The Office of Social Security and Child Support Commissioners are appointed by
the Queen and are not connected to any government department. To challenge
decisions made by the Appeals Service Tribunals, where leave to appeal is granted,
application can be made to the Commissioners to make decisions about points of
law. The site provides comprehensive information on the appeal procedures and
also previous case decisions.