The new chair of the Institute of Money Advisers (IMA) is calling for the introduction of an advanced qualification to enhance the free-debt advice sector.
Jane Clack, a money adviser at PayPlan, was elected with a majority of 56% and takes the role for a three-year term. She has been a member of the IMA for the past decade, taking an active role in various steering groups and sitting on subcommittees.
As part of her manifesto, Jane has pledged to work with stakeholders to push for a more advanced qualification for money advisers across the UK, to boost the status and gain wider recognition for the industry.
“I am a passionate believer in free debt advice,” said Jane. “The fact that it is free should not mean that advisers are regarded as vocational as opposed to professional. We are both, and should be recognised as such.
“I know many of us in the sector would relish the opportunity to study in greater detail. We need to be extending courses and qualifications to advisers from benevolent funds and other charities who signpost to free debt advice too.
“The IMA is well known for providing excellent training but we can do even more. I would like to see our provision extended and to champion other ways of training, including online and ‘just in time’. If we are able to provide bitesize versions of our courses, we can extend our reach to those who live in areas where it becomes cost prohibitive to travel.”
Jane initially entered the industry after experiencing serious debt herself. When her foreign language teaching business failed, she found herself struggling financially and the debts mounted up. Jane was making token repayments to creditors in the hope that her fortunes would turnaround before eventually seeking help from free debt advice provider PayPlan. In 2001, she joined the company as a money adviser, using her own experience to help others in debt.
“I can certainly offer a unique perspective on the industry as I’ve experienced it from both sides,” added Jane. “I’m thrilled to be in this new position.
“Ultimately, I want to use my time as chair to increase IMA membership. The more members the IMA has, the more funds we have to extend our presence and work with others. We need to make employers aware of the benefits of their staff being members, becoming accredited and taking further training to maintain this, and that will only happen if our voice is heard.”