Atlantic Financial Management

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Our Debt Solution Fees Explained

Our Services

Atlantic Finance (UK) Limited, trading as Atlantic Financial Management, offers all-round debt advice and a full range of Debt Solutions for all UK legal jurisdictions (i.e. England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), including Debt Management Plans (DMPs), Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs), Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS), Bankruptcy Assistance and Debt Relief Orders (DROs).
There is no charge for the initial financial review and debt advice provided by our advisers with regard to the debt solutions that may be in your best interests to resolve your debt problems. We do not charge any pre-contractual fees. Any post-contractual fees will be clearly explained. Debt advice is delivered both face-to-face (generally in your home) or over the telephone, where calls are recorded for training and quality purposes. It is your choice how you wish to engage with us. You have the right to a 14-day cooling off period with regard to an Atlantic Debt Management Plan (DMP) and you have access to independent redress through the Financial Ombudsman Service if you are unhappy with the service we provide with regard to the provision of debt management services.
Each of the service pages for the respective debt solutions explains how each solution works, for example, how an IVA works and the role of the Insolvency Practitioner.
Our service is designed to be highly personalised and offers access to a trained debt adviser and a personal case manager or supervisor for managed debt solutions like a DMP or an IVA, respectively. Many of our clients are facing legal action when they come to us and it is not uncommon for a client to have arrears with their priority creditors (e.g. Mortgage, rent, council tax, utilities). These are a priority to us and helping you deal with urgent action items is part of the fees we charge, which are set out below. Please note that we do not represent clients in court, though we assist with court paperwork. We also assist with enforcement action that may follow the judgment.
Where applicable you may be referred to an alternative service provider, for example, a local competent authority if a Debt Relief Order (DRO) is regarded as the best solution for your circumstances. Extreme hardship cases may be referred to their local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) as part of our Client Charter in dealing with vulnerable and severe hardship cases.

All fees that are associated with any debt solution that Atlantic offers are totally transparent and disclosed prior to any contractual agreement being made with you. Your preferences are critical to the debt solution selected, where suitability, sustainability and affordability are key criteria. We will discuss the availability of free-to-consumer services for some of these debt remedies and the role of the Money Advice Service.

All fees quoted below are applicable to new clients only at the time of visiting the Atlantic website

Bankruptcy Assistance

For clients in England & Wales, where Bankruptcy is agreed to be the best debt solution for you then we will refer you directly to our chosen licensed Insolvency Practitioner, as we do not have an in-house Insolvency Practitioner. We operate a panel of Insolvency Practitioners covering all legal jurisdictions.

We can offer expert advice on:

  • The bankruptcy process
  • The period of bankruptcy
  • The effects of bankruptcy, particularly on your employment and your assets
  • Bankruptcy Restriction Orders (BRO), where applicable

We charge a fee of £250 for this service, which includes the time of the Insolvency Practitioner and our personnel in preparing the debtors petition paperwork and arranging the court date, including use of the Court Desk if applicable. This fee excludes prevailing court fees and deposits. These are currently:

  • The Court Fee of £180
  • The Official Receiver's Deposit of £525

You would be responsible for the Court Fee and the Official Receiver’s Deposit irrespective of our involvement. Many clients struggle to pay these as a single payment and we often need to negotiate with creditors to allow a ‘moratorium’ where token payments are made to the creditors whilst these costs are paid. Note that the court fees and deposits apply per individual.

You will normally be discharged within 12 months of bankruptcy proceedings being concluded, though it is increasingly common to have to continue making contributions to the Official Receiver for a further 2 years if you have surplus disposable income through a formal payment arrangement.

Debt Management Plans (DMPs)

The fees that are applicable to an Atlantic Debt Management Plan are detailed in the table below and the Terms of Business that are associated with our Debt Management Agreement are available on our Debt Management Plans webpage. Our average debt level for a DMP client is currently just over £12,000 with 5 creditors.

DMP Fees & Illustration

Atlantic does not charge a set-up fee for a DMP. We do, however, charge a higher monthly management fee in the first 6 months of the plan because of the level of work required to:

  • negotiate with your creditors
  • gather and review evidence supporting your proposed plan (e.g. bank statements, payslips)
  • confirm your draft and final statement-of-affairs with you and your creditors, which may require a second review appointment or several calls with an adviser
  • commence payment distributions to your creditors in the first month of the plan
  • ensure that your credit report is being properly updated if you have provided this to us
  • issue monthly statements and issue further statement-of-affairs if further changes are agreed  
  • deal with any legal paperwork, creditor correspondence and debt assignments, where applicable
  • generally monitor progress and communicate the outcome of our negotiations

The monthly management fee in the first 6 months is based upon your circumstances and the available disposable income, as we have a commitment to identify potentially vulnerable clients and to distribute a minimum of £50 to creditors from the outset of the DMP. The monthly management fee is always reflected as a monetary amount and is paid from the client account after we have distributed cleared funds to your creditors. Your disposable income minus the monthly management fee is disbursed to your creditors from the client account within 5 business days of cleared funds. If you choose to pay us more frequently than monthly (e.g. weekly) then we obtain your consent to distribute to your creditors once a month.

 

Monthly Management Fee Criteria First 6 months From month-7
based upon creditor acccounts
2-5 6-10 11-15 16+
Lower disposable income (i.e. less than £120 per month) and at least £50 to creditors £45.00 £30.00 £35.00 £40.00 £45.00
Higher disposable income (i.e. £120 per month or more) £60.00 £35.00 £40.00 £45.00 £50.00

In line with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC), Atlantic operates a vulnerable client policy and a client will be assessed against this policy based upon the information obtained in your financial review with our debt adviser. In order to ensure the suitability of the debt advice, this may involve additional questions to establish whether a debt solution with Atlantic is the most appropriate advice. An assessment of a client meeting our vulnerable client policy is also undertaken on review. Sensitive personal data will be appropriately managed under our Data Protection Policy and communicated to your creditors where it is in your best interests to do so, as your creditors have a duty to take account of this information.

The monthly management fee will be reduced by between £5 and £10 per month where the client is able to pro-actively supply supporting documentation through their DMP and/or use the on-line client portal to assist in the maintenance of their DMP. This is normally assessed after the initial 6 month period on the DMP.
If you are switching from a Debt Management Plan from another commercial provider then the Monthly Management Fee in the first 6 months will be the figure quoted in the matrix above from month-7 onwards (i.e. no higher initial fee). If your current payment (evidenced from a recent statement) is lower than this then we will match this for the first 12 months of the plan.

In accordance with our commitment to treat customers fairly, we will undertake a client assessment in respect of the affordability, suitability and sustainability of any debt solution recommended. In accordance with regulatory requirements, this will also include customer due diligence as part of our commitment to fight financial crime. This may include a review of your credit file or seeking additional evidence to meet these requirements.

Where we are looking at progressing formal debt solutions like an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) then statutory anti-money laundering checks may be undertaken by the Insolvency Practitioner.

EXAMPLE – client with £12,000 debt, 5 creditors and £110 disposable income

Creditors are paid a minimum monthly payment of £5 with disbursements calculated on a ‘pro rata’ basis.
Using the matrix above, the estimated duration of the DMP in this example is 12 years and 8 months with total fees payable of £4,650. Atlantic operates a policy of capping the fees payable for Debt Management Plans at £5,000 after the first 6 months of the plan. Where the cap is projected to be met then the monthly management fee is based upon the estimated plan duration from month-7 divided into £5,000. Where material changes occur to a client’s circumstances during the course of the plan then the suitability and affordability of the fees will be re-assessed. The inclusion of additional debts at a later point in the plan would require such a review. Clients are clearly warned of the risks of taking on additional credit during the course of the plan. Adverse credit history is likely to age off your credit file through the course of the plan and you may find yourself subject to credit marketing by lenders. 

We aim to identify opportunities to increase your disposable income to reduce the duration of your plan, which involves regular reviews, including the on-going suitability and affordability of the debt solution. Atlantic is able to negotiate Full & Final Settlements on some or all of the debts under management during the course of the DMP. This can significantly reduce the duration of the DMP and the level of debt repayable.

PPI reclaims are currently one of the most common reasons for significant debt balance reductions.

Full & Final Settlement Services

We charge a fee of 10% of the difference between the actual balance and the negotiated balance upon Full & Final Settlement of any of your credit agreements. A minimum fee of £25 per settled account applies.

Important points regarding DMPs

  • Any fees applicable will be clearly explained before you commit to any Atlantic debt solution through a written contract and you have a right to a 14 day cooling off period. The statement-of-affairs supporting the Debt Management Agreement will identify the debts that we are acting upon. We will provide an ‘Important Points to Remember’ pre-contractual document to enable you to make a reasonable decision with regard to progressing with a Debt Management Plan (DMP)
  • Whilst creditors are not obliged to freeze interest & charges, in over 85% of cases that we are acting upon, they have done so. Where a lender does not freeze interest & charges the amount you owe and the period over which you repay that credit account may increase, though requests to freeze interest & charges will continue once several payments have been made to your DMP
  • By entering into a DMP there is no guarantee that any current recovery or legal action will be suspended or withdrawn, though our experience has shown that the majority of mainstream lenders and debt recovery agents will provide ‘breathing space’ whilst we set up the DMP and accept our offers of repayment. We encourage clients to send us creditor correspondence without delay and advise of the actual or potential consequences of ignoring correspondence or other contact from creditors and those acting on their (e.g. debt collectors, debt recovery solicitor firms)        

  • Whilst entering into a DMP can adversely affect your credit rating it is our experience that those who approach us already have an impaired credit record. By entering into a DMP you will be showing your creditors that you are taking a responsible attitude to resolving your financial problems and this could help you in the future. Once an account is defaulted then it will age off your credit file in 6 years
  • Rescheduling debts can sometimes lead to an increase in the total sum to be repaid and can extend the debt repayment period, though our experience has shown that for revolving credit (e.g. credit cards), where interest is frozen, that the opposite may be true in a DMP, with the repayment period being substantially shorter when compared to minimum contractual repayments
  • The pros and cons of a DMP can be reviewed in the document 'In debt? Dealing with your creditors‘. More generally, we will make clear the actual or potential advantages, disadvantages, costs and risks of each option available, with any conditions that apply for entry into each debt resolution option and which debts may be covered by each option in the applicable legal jurisdiction (e.g. England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)
  • Any changes in circumstances, positive or negative, will be taken into account with regard to the repayments offered to your creditors and the duration of your plan. The agreement length is always conditional on the estimated duration of the plan and you are able to cancel without penalty at any point in time   
  • If you are unhappy with our service then you have the right to independent redress through the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), which is explained in our complaint policy.

Vulnerable Clients

Atlantic operates a vulnerable client policy in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC). Atlantic adheres to the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) Debt and Mental Health Guidance and our advisers are trained to deal with sensitive personal information and the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF).

Our advisers have also been trained in the ‘twelve steps for treating potentially vulnerable customers fairly’, published in November 2014. This has been widely adopted by lenders, creditors and debt collectors.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA)

For clients in England & Wales or Northern Ireland, where an IVA is agreed to be the best debt solution for you then we will refer you directly to our chosen licensed Insolvency Practitioner, as we do not have an in-house Insolvency Practitioner. We operate a panel of Insolvency Practitioners covering all legal jurisdictions and they are all companies independent of Atlantic.

The Atlantic panel is:



Nominee Fee

The nominee fee is a fixed fee and covers the Insolvency Practitioner's work in setting up your IVA proposal to your creditors.

The nominee fee charged by our Insolvency Practitioner is likely to be in the range of £1,000 to £3,000, depending on a number of factors, with an average of £1,200.
The Insolvency Practitioner will be paid the nominee fee out of the payments you make into the IVA and these will not be paid to your creditors. The creditors are bound by the IVA proposal once approved provided that you maintain the agreed payments to the Insolvency Practitioner.

It takes around 6 - 8 weeks to set up an IVA and during this period you will commence your monthly contributions into your IVA. It is likely that by the time the IVA is approved, you will have made one to two contributions which will be used as part payment of the nominee fee and count towards your total required contributions.

Supervisor's Fee

The supervisor's fee covers the on-going administration of the IVA, disbursement of contributions to your creditors and any reviews that are required, including an annual review. The supervisor has reasonable discretion where your circumstances change without going back to your creditors and this may affect the contributions and fees.

The calculation of the supervisor’s costs and fees will depend on the proposal and is therefore subject to your individual circumstances. Wherever possible our Insolvency Practitioner's follows the IVA Protocol, an agreed approach with the major lenders, where the supervisor’s fee will usually be 15% of your monthly or quarterly payment.

For employed or retired people it will be normal for contributions to be made monthly. For the self-employed there may be flexibility in payments to allow for invoice payments by their customers. Your creditors will agree these supervisory fees with the Insolvency Practitioner and they will be deducted from the money you pay the Insolvency Practitioner for distribution to your creditors.

Where you are a homeowner, there may be a requirement to make contributions for a sixth year rather than release equity from your property. A supervisor fee will be applicable on any contributions in the extended term of the IVA.

IVA Illustration

Employed tenant who is married with no dependents and in their late thirties with total unsecured debts of £18,927 with 7 creditors and their liabilities exceed assets.
Monthly contributions 60 months @ £220 (Disposable Income) £13,200
The Insolvency Practitioner (IP) fees come from these monthly contributions and are therefore suffered by the creditors not the client.
Nominee Fee £1,100 (5 x £220)
Supervisor Fee over IVA Term £1,815 [15% of the remainder (£12,100)]
Disbursements / Costs £500
Total Costs £3,415
Net funds available to 7 unsecured creditors £9,785
Dividend to unsecured creditors from IVA 51.7 pence in the £
From bankruptcy
Assumptions of 36 contributions of £220 = £7,920 and minimum IP fees of £4,000.
Dividend to unsecured creditors from bankruptcy 21p in the £

Important points regarding IVAs

  • An IVA is entered on a public register
  • Whilst on an IVA and for a year after completing it your credit rating will be affected - an IVA may last 5 years but the effect on your credit rating will last 6 years and potentially longer if the term of your IVA is extended
  • Homeowners may be required to release equity to pay off some or all of their debts. Where a homeowner is unable to obtain a remortgage, the IVA can be extended for up to 12 months
  • If a homeowner has to remortgage their property to release the equity, their ability to obtain a mortgage may be restricted and likely to be on less favourable terms (e.g. much higher interest rates) 
  • If your IVA fails, you may be made bankrupt and you remain liable for the balance of your debt and any Insolvency Practitioner fees and costs already incurred, although this is in extremely rare circumstances
  • There are restrictions on your expenditure whilst in the arrangement. Expenditure allowances are generally calculated using the Step Change trigger figures
  • On completion of your IVA, it is important to ensure that all credit agreements are shown as 'satisfied' on your credit file and that the public record no longer shows your IVA. This is a major step to improving your credit worthiness. Satisfied default records on your credit file should be deleted six years from the date that the IVA was put in place with the court.

1 Where £5 per creditor is not possible then we will reduce the minimum payment to £2 per creditor

Protected Trust Deeds (PTD)

For clients in Scotland, where a Protected Trust Deed (PTD) is agreed to be the best debt solution for you then we will refer you directly to our chosen licensed Insolvency Practitioner, who will act as Trustee, as we do not have an in-house Insolvency Practitioner covering Scotland. We operate a panel of Insolvency Practitioners in this legal jurisdiction and they are all companies independent of Atlantic and are members of the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland (ICAS).

Atlantic charges no fees for the financial review. Any fees that we are paid as the agent of the Trustee will be disclosed in the Protected Trust Deed proposal and will be collected from contributions to your Protected Trust Deed. Any work we undertake is auditable by the Accountant in Bankruptcy.

The fee the Trustee will charge will depend on your individual circumstances, but the average charge is between £2,500 and £5,000 plus VAT. Your Trustee will be paid before any money is made available to repay your creditors, though your creditors are bound by the Trust Deed once it becomes 'Protected'.
Click for more information on Protected Trust Deeds.

Click for more information on Protected Trust Deeds.

If your PTD fails

If your PTD fails then you will remain liable for the balance of your debt and any Insolvency Practitioner fees and costs already incurred.

Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS)

For clients in Scotland, DAS is debt remedy operated by the Scottish government that allows you to repay your unsecured debts through a Debt Payment Programme (DPP). This allows you to pay off your debts over an extended period of time while giving you protection from your creditors taking action against you to recover the debts listed in the DPP. The DPP can last for any reasonable length of time and, if approved, will freeze all interest, fees and charges on the debts included, resulting in them being written off if you fully complete the DPP.

Atlantic charges no fees for the initial regional adviser meeting and we would refer you to our preferred DAS approved money adviser, who will provide additional debt advice and apply for a DPP on your behalf. Thomson Cooper is our preferred DAS approved money adviser.