01May

Two directors of a loan brokerage firm have been disqualified from serving as directors after their firm was found to have numerous accounting irregularities, and to have mis-treated its customers regarding brokerage fees and other issues.

Jos Timmer has been disqualified for 12 years, and Elizabeth Rowe will be unable to serve as a director of any firm for the next six years. Their firm, Basingstoke-based More Financial Limited, was liquidated in August 2013.

The trading names used by the firm included: Century Finance, E Loans 4 U, Heritage Finance, Heritage Financial, Heritagefinancial.co.uk, Loans Expert, Loans Express, Loansexpert.co.uk, Loans-express.net, The Loan Shop, The Loans Express, UK Loans Expert and UK Loans Express.

The Insolvency Service says that Mr Timmer was in day-to-day control of the firm, and that Ms Rowe “allowed Mr Timmer to operate the business as he saw fit, and was aware of the modus operandi and purpose of the operation.”

Issues at the firm with relevance to financial services compliance included:

• Inducing customers to provide bank account details so brokerage fees could be taken without their knowledge
• Taking fees when the service being charged for was not required
• Failing to provide the promised service to customers
• Passing customers’ financial and personal data to third parties without their knowledge
• Obstructing customers in their attempts to exercise cancellation fees and obtain refunds of fees paid

Mr Timmer is also said to have hindered the authorities’ efforts to investigate his firm.

Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

“The company was wound up in the public interest because of the manner in which it was set up and operated – to extract small amounts of moneys from a significant number of people through duplicitous means. In tandem, the mechanisms for complaint and retrieval/re-imbursement of moneys were deliberately opaque to the point of obstructing the public. Furthermore, during the Insolvency Service investigations Mr Timmer continually obstructed and frustrated the enquiries.

“The nature of the customer base was such that the company was fishing in a pond of vulnerable and financially distressed people. The relatively small amounts being taken from them had a disproportionate impact. The company preyed like a vulture upon those most in need.

“This activity goes to the very core of our economic system – that people place trust in each other when they financially interact. This is a gross market abuse. These investigations send a further message to the unscrupulous, and their inattentive facilitators. You will be pursued, stopped and dealt with. We will protect the British public from those vulture capitalists who seek to line their pockets by preying on the unwary, inexperienced and financially distressed.”

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.