Guardian of the Truth
I was at a Chartered Accountant Ireland Conferring Ceremony last week and as the most recent members were admitted to the institute, the occasion didn’t disappoint. It was easy to feel the sense of achievement from the attendees, as positivity consumed the room.
As I sat there and reflected on what I have achieved and what I have not yet achieved, something the Chief Executive Officer Pat Costello said really struck a chord with me that made me think about my career to date. “As a Chartered Accountant you must at all times be truthful. By this I mean not only telling the truth, but seeking the truth for others…you must be a Guardian of the Truth!”
It was those words, coupled with recent conversations with other local professionals, that got me thinking about the local commercial and consumer debt industry and how absolutely murky and unbelievable it is. It is an industry FULL of conflicted interests where bonuses, fees and profits drive the agenda, rather than genuinely helping the borrower client who is in distress from their debt.
I have come across people who are acting unregulated by any professional body so there is no protection for the borrower if things go wrong. I have come across people who are more concerned with making money from selling your property through associated companies to their panel of investors, which is unknown to the innocent borrower and not helping you with your debt problem.
I have come across IP’s who will only recommend an Insolvency solution that fits their fee model and not the return to creditors. I have come across solicitors who are well and truly a law on to themselves. I have even come across a certain banker at a certain bank, that no matter your circumstances or proposals to repay the debt, a certain FCR will be appointed to market and sell your assets...very cosy indeed.
Whilst some reading this Blog will know who I am talking about, the point is, debt has had an adverse effect on people’s lives all across the country. Unless you are able to be pro-active and trawl the Internet for various sources of advices, unfortunately depending on where you live dictates the level of service you tend to receive, or whom you speak to first dictates the direction you travel.
Time and time again, borrowers are not being presented with all of the options available, only those that are the business models of a particular agency or firm, which I find particularly frustrating. I feel it is incumbent upon any organisation acting in this space that they present to people all of the potential solutions and not just those solutions that suit their organisation. It is high time that they had a long hard look at themselves and put the people before their profit.
Negative Equity for example has dominated the NI media in recent times and as other regions have seen a fall in Negative Equity in the last four years, Negative Equity NI plc has increased. It is the most affected region in the UK with over 68,000 mortgages recorded to be in Negative Equity.
If you find yourself in Negative Equity the important thing to know is you are not alone in looking for a solution and all of us at GDP Equity Experts are working on this together. My message has always been clear – educate yourself. The more informed you are, the better decision you will take. If an advisor is telling you something that sounds too good to be true, it might be…get another opinion and maybe even another after that. There is a real danger of being told what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear. So always ensure you get Real Honest Expert Advice.
It is clear what makes the GDP team different is we are passionate about helping people by providing a vital front line service. The practice works for the borrower and not the bank so no conflicts of interest, unusual in this space, however the bank will also benefit as it gets the case closed and the maximum return.
Debt unfortunately has destroyed many communities in Ireland as a result of the GFC, however its very empowering for me, to be able along with the team at GDP Equity Experts, to contribute in a positive way, which can change, peoples lives.
It would appear with the most recent loan sales we are now also entering a new phase of challenges as the private equity companies try and work out how they get as much back on the loans as possible. Unfortunately for those involved, this will bring great pressures. The trick as I have said before is educating yourself around your options and then take action. Its looks like we are going to continue to be busy in this space for the foreseeable future andI know the GDP Equity Experts team and I are up for the task.