ClearDebt were at the Debt Resolution Forum annual conference last week. This is one view of the event from a ClearDebt employee who was part of the DRF Events Team and helped out on the day.
After months of planning, the Debt Resolution Forum (DRF) Conference took place last week at the Manchester Conference Centre. As a recent addition to the conference events team, I got a chance to assist on the day and meet many of the people who work in the debt management industry.
The Debt Resolution Forum comprises of around 44 member companies, including ClearDebt, and its aim is to promote professional standards within the debt resolution industry. The Conference completely sold out this year and in attendance were a range of people from the industry – both DRF members and non-members.
My morning started at 7.30am when I arrived at the venue. The exhibitors were getting their stands ready as there was lots to organise before the first few delegates started to arrive after 8.30am. The conference kicked off at 9.30am and the morning session was packed full of leading industry figures giving their views on current issues and what’s in store for the future. Speakers included Nick Howard – the Insolvency Service Director of Policy, Nigel Cates – Deputy Director of the OFT Consumer Credit Group, Michelle Butler from the Insolvency Practitioners Association and Rosemary Winter-Scott The Accountant in Bankruptcy and Agency Chief Executive.
The afternoon sessions were less formal and the delegates were split into three groups to attend more intimate seminars with Nigel Cates from the OFT, Maisha Frost – consumer “Crusader” for the Daily Express and Emma Bryn-Jones – founder of campaigning site Zero Credit.
I suppose it was fitting that I had the chance to sit in with Emma Bryn-Jones on her afternoon sessions as she’s a fellow blogger and a lot of what she writes about is very relevant to what I do. Her session focused on the consumer point of view and looked at the lack of research and data on people in debt.
She also illustrated a point about the misleading labelling of financial products by holding a prize draw for a bottle of champagne. “Leave your business card to be entered into the champagne prize draw” stated the sign. The winner was chosen at the end of her session, but instead of receiving their prize they were shown a long list of terms and conditions which were printed on the back of her sign, one of which included the prize winner having to pay Zero Credit £500!
Thankfully, Emma didn’t make the “winners” pay, but her demonstration showed that anyone can find themselves in trouble for not having read the small print.
You can view Emma’s presentation and her experiences from the conference on the Zero Credit blog here: Paying for it at #debtdebate
You may be wondering as someone in debt, what difference a conference like this makes to your situation. Well, as I’ve mentioned the aim of the DRF is to promote professional standards within the industry and whilst having a set of standards for all DRF members to abide by is one thing, the DRF conference was a chance to openly discuss ideas and best practices which ultimately make the experience of going through an IVA, Debt Management Plan or other debt solution better for you.