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How our standards are maintained

April 2021

How our standards are maintained

In the next chapter of our ongoing blog series, we explain why Credit Style invests in certification and accreditation beyond the industry standard and what this means for maintaining high-quality debt recovery operations.


At Credit Style, we recently certified our Senior Managers in compliance with SMCR regulatory requirements. SMCR refers to the Senior Managers and Certification Regime. Following a review into the 2008 financial crisis, the UK Approved Persons Regime (APER) was replaced by SMCR. This was actioned to increase individual responsibilities of managers within banks, building societies and credit unions, then rolled out to every solo regulated financial service firm under the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since December 2019. Due to the interruptions of COVID-19, the deadline for firms to assess the fitness of the staff conducting their Certified Functions, train staff on FCA conduct rules and report Directory Person data was extended to the end of March 2021.

Adhering to FCA required regulations like the SMCR is incredibly important and contributes to training being applied, standards being raised and the ongoing prevalence of integrity and honesty. But as this has become a necessity in recent years, it does not provide an instant indication of which firms are providing the very best services. That is why we have compounded these efforts with several additional certifications. We believe that customers appreciate increased accountability when selecting service providers and that advanced accreditation is the perfect benchmark for showcasing our commitment and quality.


Reflecting best practice

In addition to SMCR, Credit Style has recertified in ISO27001 this month, the international methodology for the implementation, management, and maintenance of information security. This is a preferred qualification in certain sectors and requires a full five-day audit. We have also completed Cyber Essential Plus this year, the highest level of certification offered under the Government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme. In addition to reviews of defences against common cyber-attacks, this provides a rigorous test of systems and vulnerability to ascertain how well the organisation is protected against hacking and phishing attempts. Anyone engaging with our company can rest assured that they are in safe and secure hands.

Additional accreditation like ISO27001 and Cyber Essential Plus are not currently a necessity for all clients to engage with a debt recovery service. Not every industry requires extra certifications like these before assigning work to a service provider, but in many circumstances, these are fast becoming key differentiating factors in selection processes. By already being able to showcase advanced accreditations in areas like security, we are sending a clear message to lenders about our own commitments, standards and capabilities. Whether potential clients and customers are involved in supplying utilities, motor finance, loans, personal credit or have any other related need, these additional levels of accreditation can only instil confidence and be seen as evidence of our good principles.


Examples and evidence

Most businesses can claim they are invested in important things like security, training and accountability, but undertaking additional accreditation provides independent, third-party evidence that this is genuinely the case. Building robust regulatory change processes helps businesses check and review efficiencies and at Credit Style, we always welcome the opportunity to keep improving our credentials. Must-have accreditations are a great starting point, but the more we invest in this area, the better placed we will be to stand out from the crowd. Our confidence in this approach benefits our staff, our customers and the clients we engage with, no matter what sector they are in.

In addition to service-related certifications, Credit Style has also recently passed HSE COVID Risk Assessment reviews related to safe working procedures and adherence to coronavirus guidance from Public Health England. The business always takes the health and wellbeing of its employees very seriously, but this has been compounded further throughout the national health crisis. We are also adapting to recent FCA-led vulnerability guidelines and has updated training and processes per the forthcoming Debt Respite Scheme regulations, set to be implemented in Spring 2021.