• Moneycheats

Creditfix – too many spinning plates?

Two weeks ago, ABCUL[1] called on the Insolvency Service and the Insolvency Practitioners’ Association to stop insolvency firms making money out of those disadvantaged by the coronavirus. This measure was made in response to a letter sent by Creditfix to creditors asking them to approve a £84.12 fee on each of their 86,000 IVAs.

Creditfix has since reviewed their position on this but in its initial letter to the IPA, ABCUL made this important observation;

“We would also note our concerns that the letter states CreditFix has a portfolio of more 86,000 IVAs, yet has only 5 regulated Insolvency Practitioners – a case load of more than 17,000 each. It would also appear from their website that at least one also works for Carrington Dean, suggesting they will have an additional case load of Protected Trust Deeds. This trend is in keeping with the figures set out in the IPA’s 2019 Benchmarking Report, which states the scheme applies to over 187,000 IVAs and PTDs combined, and yet only 17 Insolvency Practitioners.”

This is a staggering caseload so consequently ABCUL have asked the IPA what assessment they have made of each IP’s ability to manage it in line with the regulations.

The Insolvency Practitioners

The 5 IP’s are David Rankin, Michael Sloper, Samantha Warburton, Katy Walker, and Timothy Pope.

David Rankin is the IP and Director of Insolvency at Creditfix but in February, 2020 the IPA upheld a complaint made against him. The complaint stated Mr Rankin in his role as, Supervisor of two IVA’s breached the fundamental principle of professional competence and due care of the Insolvency Ethics Code when he had drawn unauthorised remuneration of £368.50 and £244.08 from the two IVA estates. [2]

In January, 2020, Samantha Warburton was found to have” failed to consult with the majority creditor to seek their view on whether they would be willing to accept the IVA; and to notify the majority creditor of the proposed IVA. The Regulation and Conduct Committee imposed a disciplinary order that Mrs Warburton be severely reprimanded, fined £6,000 and contribute £1,650 towards costs.[3]

Also in January 2020, Katy Walker was subject to 2 disciplinary consent orders by the IPA which found she had breached the fundamental principle of professional competence and due care of the Insolvency Ethics Code when she failed to ensure adequate processes and systems were in place to deal with email communications received from a creditor and / or failed to treat that creditor’s s vote, to reject two IVAs, properly[4]

In March 2020, RBS secured a court victory against Creditfix and the judge also criticised “multiple failings” in the conduct of Michael Sloper who he accused of promoting his own interests and/ or the interests of his employer, Creditfix before the interests of the creditors and debtors.[5]

In February 2017, a Timothy Pope of York was also the subject of a disciplinary consent order[6]

The Debt Management Companies used by Creditfix

Given the status of the Insolvency Pracitioners, the Moneycheats project decided to take a closer look at some of the firms used by Creditfix to support their services.

According to their privacy policy, Creditfix use the following companies who they describe as “authorised and regulated debt solution providers in the United Kingdom”.

Debt Consultancy Services

Debt Consultancy Services is a firm which is well known to the Moneycheats project and has been written about extensively. Its full title is Debt Consultancy Services CIC[7]

The firm is authorized by the FCA[8] as an Appointed Representative for the principal firm Two Financial Services Ltd.[9] and the director is Matthew Osborn who runs both of these firms as well as the CMC, Chadney-Smith Associates Ltd[10] . These firms (and others) operate from the same address in Exeter as we have previously revealed.

Matthew Osborn has very close links with the disgraced and disqualified director, Mark Kennedy as we have documented in several other blogs. Both men are former shareholders of the current CMC, Clear Legal Marketing Ltd, while a further CMC, Last Minute Refund Ltd is run by a Toni Hatton from the same location in Exeter. Our related blog highlighted several coincidences such as the fact a Toni Hatton also works as an Outreach Co-Coordinator for debt advisors, Debt Consultancy Service CIC[3].

Finally, our blog, why consumers looking for debt advice may be getting more looks at further links to CMC’s and provides a wiring diagram which shows all the connected individuals.

Hamilton Philips Ltd

Hamilton Philips Ltd has also been scrutinised in a past blog of ours which at the time had described itself as “ a leading debt advice company who specialises in helping people who are struggling with outstanding finances”.[4] Since June 2018 they had been an appointed representative of Sterling Green Limited but this ceased in September 2019 and the website is no longer available. So, this does lead to question why does it remains a partner of Creditfix?

More notably, although the firm is run by Liam Hoddes, the former FCA contact is Ciaran Hamilton – a former director of the CMC, Chadney-Smith Ltd and the current director of the CMC, Shepherd and West Ltd. Hamilton also has very close links with Mark Kennedy and we have written extensively about both men.

Back2Credit Ltd

The Creditfix website incorrectly states the company registration number as 10508027 and it should be 10508037 which belongs to Back2Credit Ltd, a dormant company which was incorporated in 2016 by Arvinder Bhan. She also runs B2C Finance Ltd[11].

B2C Finance Ltd is authorised by the FCA but Back2Credit Ltd is NOT.

Furthermore, the FCA has also placed requirements on B2C Finance Ltd which states they must notify the FCA when it administers more than 300 DMPs:-

Gravitate Media Ltd

Gravitate Media Ltd was set up on October 2019 by Craig and David Slater[12]. The company is NOT listed on the FCA register.

Craig Slater is also the director of The Claims Service, The Money Service (an introducer) and Retirement Line. Retirement Line was set up in 2009 and describes itself as “the UK's largest pension income broker” and is authorised by the FCA.

Both men also run Gravitate Digital Ltd[13] which appears to be a lead generation service.[14]

Refresh Debt Services Ltd

Refresh Debt Services is a DMP provider run by Connor and Jennifer McGivern and is authorised by the FCA[15]

Financial Guidance Ltd

Financial Guidance Ltd was incorporated in 2018 and is listed on the FCA website[16] as an Appointed Representative of Matthew Osborn’s, Two Financial Services Ltd! Financial Guidance is run by Rory Angus in Glasgow[17] but does not appear to have a website

Two Financial Services Ltd “are the FCA-registered principal firm of the growing 'Two Financial Services Network', which many businesses operate within as 'Appointed Representatives' in the Credit Counselling and Credit Brokerage sectors.” Sadly, their list of AR’s does not match those listed with the FCA:

Other Information

Creditfix has a number of trading syles such as Your Debt Expert and is based in Glasgow, Manchester and Carlise. In 2017, it acquired Carrington Dean - an FCA authorised firm which are ‘limited to no debt management plans’.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]


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