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In the absence of FCA regulation of commercial lending the move by ABFA to tackle abuses and promote fair dealing by imposing a code of practice on its Members backed by an independent Professional Skills Council is at least a step in the right direction.
The PSC is to deal with the Code and complaints about ABFA members. I hope ABFA members embrace the spirit of the Code and that ABFA becomes a badge of fair dealing. ABLs could be funding many more businesses and needs to become an industry British business can trust.
Obviously it remains to be seen how these changes work in practice but their introduction shows the willingness of part of the industry to tackle abuses and promote best practice. It seems to amaze many that commercial lending per se is unregulated and whilst the FCA requires a high duty of care by financial advisors to "unsophisticated investors" the FCA does not regulate this area (save in banking) so the unsophisticated borrower is on his or her own. We are, if not a nation of shopkeepers, still a nation of SMEs, and lending documents, exposure to being forced into insolvency, and headline charges which may apply, should be clear and fair. The termination fee issues which arise in cases of abuse are something the industry needs to address as do IPs when appointed. ABFA members recognise the need to do something at least.
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