Role of an IVA advisor
Summary: this article underlines the role of an IVA advisor highlighting qualities to look for in an advisor and warning signs.
The advisor does not have to be an insolvency practitioner, though often is. The advisor should inform the debtor of all the solutions available, commonly including dealing with priority debts first, re-mortgage, consolidating debts into a loan, debt management, bankruptcy, a Debt Relief Order, and IVA. The advisor should look at all the debtor's circumstances, what they own, what they owe, and their household income & expenditure to advise the best solution. The advisor can charge for debt advice or offer it within a charity capacity where they will not pay for the debt advice.
It is important that a debtor is made aware of the various potential solutions open to them. This may include diy options such as consolidation loans, family help, offering token payments to creditors, to solutions offered by third parties including debt management plans or more formal solutions such as IVA's and bankruptcy. The implications of each solution should be explained clearly by the advisor, and if possible communicated in writing to allow the debtor to consider options carefully.
The more exact the information provided, the more reliable the advice is likely to be. Providing details relating to the total debt, exact household income and outgoings, as well as valuations of any assets, will enable a competent advisor to provide advice that is relevant. Failing to mention a second property owned, or lots of regular bonuses received or a vehicle on finance will inevitably lead to unreliable advice.
IP's and many other debt advisors will provide helpful and unbiased advice providing you with the necessary information on which you can make a choice on the best way forward. However all advice (especially from debt companies that are not necessarily regulated) needs to be weighed carefully. It is possible that advisors from some companies carry their own agenda and are more interested in signing you up for their preferred solution. Look out for an over-zealous sales approach that appears more intent on collecting money than providing information. It may well be worth speaking with 2 or 3 different advisors and comparing the advice given. It would be wise to do some homework on the companies offering the advice, looking at their websites or on consumer forums to gauge the reliability of the service experienced by others.