Archive for May, 2014

First Step Finance and Debt Help & Advice Customers Stop Trading

FCA logo

Debt Help & Advice and their affiliates First Step Finance and Primary Business Solutions as they have stopped trading, and as such customers should stop making payments to them. You may have to contact your bank to ensure these payments cease.

The firm also operated under the trading names Atria Finance, Sales Help & Advice and Mortgage Help & Advice, and so customers of these companies should also stop making payments.

The companies, all based in Stockport, have around 3,000 and 3,500 customers between them. It is imperative that these customers stop making payments, as they will not reach their creditors. Valid debts will still have to be repaid.



One Advice raises over £2,500 in the BUPA Great Manchester Run

One Advice entered three teams into the Bupa 10k in Manchester, and we are delighted to announce their training and fundraising efforts achieved almost £3000 in sponsorship, to be added to our donations to the Macmillan Wellbeing Centre in Trafford.

One Advice staff added almost £3000 to their charity fundraising total, by participating in the Bupa 10K in Manchester this weekend.

One Advice staff added almost £3000 to their charity fundraising total, by participating in the Bupa 10K in Manchester this weekend.

Twenty five members of staff, all at different levels of experience as long-distance runners, signed up to take part. With the whole of One Advice routing for them, the runners documented their training on the staff intranet, attending special fitness sessions hosted by the local gym in Sale as well as their own unique training regimes,
literally going the extra mile week after week.

The day of the event fell on one of the hottest days of the year, with the three teams cool under the pressure among the crowds on Deansgate. Every runner managed to finish the race, with our fastest runner in Team Finance, Harley Brannigan coming in at 47minutes.

Our staff’s great efforts achieved an incredible amount of almost £3,000 towards our chosen charity of the year, the MacMillan Wellbeing Centre in Trafford, with our team from Finance raising approximately £1,000 for St Anne’s Hospice.

The Macmillan Wellbeing Centre

Based in Trafford, Manchester, where many One Advice staff are from, the Macmillan Wellbeing Centre provides care and support for people affected by cancer. They aim to improve people’s sense of wellbeing, increase relaxation and self confidence and allow them to take home a sense of achievement through a worthwhile experience. The Centre was recently ranked No.1 for patient satisfaction in a survey taken across all healthcare departments in Trafford.

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Content Writer Charlotte Campbell and Finance’s Alan Bevins

Carly Half Way

One Advice’s Carly Rourke with one hand in the air at the half way point.

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Kevin O Donnell and Grace Granfield of Team Finance

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Team Finance, who raised c£1,000 for St. Anne’s Hospice


Colin Lowndes, who went on to complete a further two charity cycling events for MacMillan and The Christie.


Neil Strange, Training Manager and Culture Club Rep


Brian King and John Edwards of One Advice

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James Murtagh, Head of FreshStart, and Matt Cheetham, CEO of Harrington Brooks

FCA Call for Consumer Credit Firms to Raise Advertising Standards

The Financial Conduct Authority have issued a press release today, stating that consumer credit firms need to do more to ensure that their adverts and promotions do not mislead potential consumers.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA.

The FCA examined over 500 consumer credit product advertisements and statistics revealed that one in five adverts from consumer credit firms fell short of financial promotion expectations. Many were quick to make the required changes when the errors were made clear. The rules outline that adverts must be clear, fair and not misleading for consumers.

Since April, 2014 when the FCA became the regulating body responsible for the sector, their findings highlighted a number of examples wherein key information should been made clearer and often included at all in advertisements.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said:

“It is particularly important in this sector that advertisements for financial products enable customers to make informed decisions. We think that more can be done to ensure that advertisements are fair, clear and not misleading.”

FCA State Consumer Credit Firms Must Raise Advertising Standards


The FCA have issued a press release calling for consumer credit firms to take greater measures to ensure their adverts and promotions do not mislead potential customers.

The FCA’s findings revealed that one in five adverts from consumer credit firms fell short of the FCA’s financial promotion expectations. Specific to debt management, the findings stated that adverts and promotions of some debt management firms offered a lack of clarity in information about lower monthly payments potentially increasing the loan or its term, and in some cases giving misleading statements about the ability to freeze interest and charges of lenders.

Read the full FCA press release here.

Household Debt at Highest Since 2009

Figures revealed by The Money Charity have shown that despite economic growth, household debt has risen over the past 5 years, with an estimated £1.6 trillion and counting owed privately in both secured and unsecured credit.

Evidence from R3, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, states that people from all over the UK are struggling with their finances, with 50% of Londoners, 56% of those in the North East and 47% in the West Midlands stating they struggle to make it to payday.

The Financial Conduct Authority estimates there are already nearly 9 million people in Britain who are over indebted, for whom changes in income or a rise in bills or debt costs are entirely unmanageable.
Stella Creasy, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills comments:

“Helping families to make ends meet is critical not just to day to day living but to our future prosperity, too… Ensuring good financial advice and management facilities for those already drowning in bills will also help prevent debt from holding half our nation back.”

Creasy Stella

Stella Creasy, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills

Harrington Brooks are committed to providing ethical and professional financial advice to those struggling with debt. We take into account the individual circumstances of everyone that comes to us for help, and always recommend the best solution – even if that means recommending a service that we do not provide. We know that the stress of debt can be overwhelming, and that straightforward, honest advice and assistance is the only way to getting you back on track and in control.

Additionally, to alleviate the burden of rising living costs, we provide our customers with a complimentary comparison and switching service for media and utility bills, so you can be sure that you are never paying more than you need to.

2.5 million people are already on a debt management plan, and if you think you could benefit from hearing more about what that involves, as well as the other options available to you, call our friendly expert advisers today on the numbers on the top of the page.

Debate of Amendment to Debt Management Clause of Consumer Rights Bill

Amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill was debated yesterday in Parliament, with MP Stella Creasy calling for a debt management clause to crack down on fees.

The full transcript from parliament can be viewed here.

The full transcript of the debate can be viewed here.

The clause was not voted on, and so will not form part of the bill. During the debate MP Creasy described commercial debt management firms as “cowboys”, stating that “these companies are profiting from the misery of our constituents, exploiting the way in which debt management is done in this country”.

Responding for the Government, Jenny Willott recognised that consumer detriment had been caused by some of the fee-charging providers of debt management plans, and she welcomed the FCA’s new rules.  

However, Willott did not think it was necessary to “unduly restrict” consumers’ choice of debt management plan providers and products. “Fee-charging debt management plan providers who are operating with consumers’ interests at heart and in full compliance with the regulations can help to provide a wider range of solutions and products for consumers.”

A full transcript can be seen here.