The Financial Conduct Authority has today named Burlington Group as the first debt collection firm to be authorised as a principal business. Authorisation as a principal means that Burlington will be able to engage Appointed Representatives to carry out regulated debt collection activities under the supervision of the firm.

With authorisation to carry out regulated activities of debt collection and debt administration, Burlington will engage its field officers as Appointed Representatives to service existing clients and recent contract wins, including a three year contract with Volkswagen Financial Services.

Under the Appointed Representative regime, Burlington will be responsible for ensuring that its field officers meet FCA requirements with regard to competency, ongoing training and evidencing positive customer outcomes.

John Ingram, Burlington’s Managing Director said, “We have worked incredibly hard and to some intense timeframes to achieve authorisation in such a short space of time. We are of course very grateful to the FCA for helping us to help achieve another industry first. Our efforts have not been limited to the application process and we have been engaged in a Continuous Improvement Programme since 2012 to help the business meet compliance objectives.”

Burlington’s Sales Director, Adam Wonnacott believes that Burlington now occupies a unique position in the debt recovery marketplace, “The debt collection industry is in a period of adjustment and there is an element of uncertainty as regards who will remain once the waves of the FCA authorisation process have receded. Our clients and prospective clients can draw comfort and reassurance from today’s announcement.”

The FCA Appointed Representative regime creates, for the first time, a definitive regulatory framework that obligates DCA’s to take responsibility for the conduct of field operatives. This is something that Burlington has been advocating for several years, “The AR regime moves the industry away from loose ‘agency’ arrangements that existed historically,” says Ingram, “ Now, both the FCA Principal and the Appointed Representative have regulatory responsibilities and both need to maintain standards if they wish to carry out debt collection activities”.