The new Standard Financial Statement (SFS) was launched on 1 March 2017. This initiative is designed to bring greater consistency to the way organisations assess people’s finances when they are in debt by replacing the existing income and expenditure forms.
The SFS, the launch of which has been co-ordinated by the Money Advice Service, will be adopted by all major Debt Advice providers across commercial and not-for-profit sectors. The SFS scheme is currently voluntary but it is hoped that this will be adopted industry wide.
The SFS is a single universal form, and guidelines will make it easier to share information between Creditors and Debt Collection Agencies. It will also simplify the completion of the income and expenditure details for our customer’s.
The SFS will ensure greater consistency on how we gather information regarding people’s financial circumstances. Over 22 organisations have been involved in the new SFS form, which will also incorporate a saving category which has been designed to encourage people to save where possible.
Organisations who sign up to the SFS will agree to a code of conduct to ensure best practice. This will also help to achieve consistency across the industry.
A number of Debt Management Companies and Creditors have gone live already and the Money Advice Trust has advised the rollout will continue over the next 12 months across the industry.
The SFS will replace the Common Financial Statement (CFS) which is referenced in the FCA Handbook and is currently used by Debt Advisory Line. The CFS will still be used while the roll out proceeds but will eventually be phased out. Debt Advisory Line plans to adopt the SFS by March 2018.
More information can be found at sfs.moneyadviceservice.org.uk