Insurance Regulatory eBulletin - Enforcement action

FCA fines round-up
FCA regulatory fines for 2018 now total  £4.7m. No fines related to enforcement actions have been announced in the past month.

FCA enforcement action
On 25 July, the FCA announced it had banned David Mullins, Edward Booth, Christopher Brotherton and Mark Kennedy, the former directors and shareholders of Secure My Money Limited, for misleading customers.

The FCA found that between November 2013 and July 2014 all four lacked honesty and integrity as they had deliberately misled often vulnerable customers, in relation to fees and services provided through web-based brands i-loansdirect, LoanZoo and the1loan. Customers searching for loans online were informed on arrival at the websites they had been ‘approved’. They were shown details of a sample loan and were asked to enter their payment card details in order to ‘verify their account’. Customers were not pre-approved for a loan and there was no such account verification, instead their cards were charged between £39 and £69. Many of Secure My Money’s (SMM’s) customers, including those least able to afford the fees, were unaware a fee would be charged. The firm took fees of over £7.2 million from approximately 124,000 online customers by duping them into believing they had been approved for short term loans.

The bans imposed by the FCA are the strongest sanction available in this case as the conduct took place before the FCA had the power to fine individuals at consumer credit firms.
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fines round-up
The ICO has taken enforcement action against Our Vault Limited for making nuisance telephone calls. An Enforcement Notice has been issued to the company ordering the firm to stop its illegal marketing activity and the company was also fined £70,000 for making 55,534 unsolicited marketing calls to people who had registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and had not consented to being contacted by the company.

Despite claiming that all their personal data was checked against the register, the investigation found that Our Vault have never held or requested a TPS licence. The calls were designed to sell the financial products of a sister company - ST&R Limited – under the guise of market research.