Four individuals have been banned from carrying out any role in regulated financial services, as a result of their conduct while serving as directors of an online credit broker.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says that the individuals’ actions displayed a lack of honesty and integrity. Their conduct included:

  • Incorrectly informing new applicants that they had been ‘approved’ for a loan, when in fact the applications had not even received pre-approval at that stage
  • Providing a list to applicants which the firm claimed was a list of pre-approved loan offers, when in fact it was nothing more than a list of links to lender website homepages
  • Taking fees without the knowledge of the applicants, who were asked to enter their payment card details, supposedly in order to ‘verify their account’, but in fact payments of between £39 and £69 were taken at this stage
  • Misleading the FCA by informing them that they had taken down the firm’s four websites, when in fact they had merely disabled the home page, knowing that the majority of customers arrived on the sites via other pages – pages that were still live
  • Charging a monthly site membership fee, and backdated this to March 2014, even though the director involved with this action was aware that doing so was a breach of customer terms and conditions
  • Arranging for customers clicking on lender icons in the membership areas of the site to be redirected to other fee-charging credit broker websites. The sale of customers’ personal data to third parties led to some customers receiving multiple marketing calls or texts.

The four men had already been disqualified by the Insolvency Service from acting as directors for periods of between five and eight years.

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:

“These four individuals consistently misled vulnerable customers into paying money for worthless services and into believing SMM had found them a loan, in addition to selling on their data. They showed complete disregard for the consequences of their actions. We have taken the strongest action possible to prevent them from working in financial services again.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article