Ascent Becomes First Major Debt Recovery Law Firm To Achieve Full FCA Authorisation

Leading recoveries law firm boosts customer care offering with latest announcement


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

Leading recoveries law firm, Ascent, has demonstrated its commitment to first-class customer care by becoming the first major debt recovery law firm in the UK to achieve full authorisation status with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The announcement, which approves Ascent to act as principal for debt collection and mortgage administration activities, also means Ascent will be the first fully authorised provider for mortgage arrears mediation and rehabilitation home visits in the UK.

Ascent’s achievement is expected to provide a considerable competitive advantage over other debt recovery law firms and agencies operating in these debt sectors.

Unlike Ascent, many law firms currently working in the debt market have chosen not to apply for a full FCA licence and instead to rely on the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) exemption.

Ascent is following a different strategy and its decision to become FCA authorised is based on its commitment to customer care and a preference to align itself with its clients’ strict regulatory environment.

Niall Gilhooley, chief executive at Ascent, said: “Full FCA authorisation provides Ascent with a clear advantage in its market because unlike our competitors, we are not relying on the exemption that SRA regulation provides for law firms.

“Obtaining authorisation in our own right was important because we want to align ourselves fully with the regulatory framework our clients work in and therefore demonstrate our commitment to them and their customers.”

He added: “This is a significant achievement for Ascent, but it is the first step in an on-going process. The FCA has established a clear framework and set clear expectations that firms must work to and we are committed to meeting these now that we have our authorisations.”

Ascent is a subsidiary of the Irwin Mitchell Group and it operates across a range of sectors providing services which include UK and international debt recovery and litigation.

In March last year, Ascent bought HL Interactive as part of a deal which saw it relocate to larger premises in Manchester and increase headcount by 60. Other acquisitions have been PDP Management Services, Elliot Davies and Fraser Gowrie Johnston.