FCA cancels payday lender’s interim permission, bans director and refuses application to conduct regulated business

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned Andrew Barry Hart, the sole director, controller and ultimate owner of Wage Payment and Payday Loans Limited (WPPL), from performing any role in regulated financial services. The FCA has also cancelled WPPL’s interim permission and refused its applications for WPPL to be authorised to carry out regulated activities and for Mr Hart to be an approved person.

This follows the Decision Notices published in July of this year which set out the FCA’s decisions to prohibit Mr Hart and cancel WPPL’s interim permission. As explained in the FCA’s July press release, those Decision Notices had been referred to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber). However, those references have since been withdrawn, and so the FCA has proceeded to prohibit Mr Hart and cancel WPPL’s interim permission.

The FCA has prohibited Mr Hart because he is not a fit and proper person, due to his lack of integrity and competence. WPPL’s interim permission has been cancelled because the firm has failed to satisfy the threshold conditions regarding appropriate resources and suitability.

This is the first prohibition of a senior manager for a lack of compliance with regulatory requirements in the consumer credit sector since the FCA took over regulation of consumer credit in April 2014. Mark Steward, FCA Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, said:

“There is no place in an FCA-regulated consumer credit market for firms like WPPL or senior managers, like Mr Hart, who lack the requisite integrity and competence to ensure customers are treated fairly and all relevant regulatory obligations are met. We will continue to use our powers to protect consumers and tackle firms who cross the line and senior managers whose failures have caused or contributed to the firm’s failures.”

In light of the facts underlying the decisions to prohibit Mr Hart and cancel WPPL’s interim permission, together with further evidence of Mr Hart’s lack of fitness and propriety, the FCA has refused WPPL’s application for authorisation and its application for Mr Hart to be an approved person.

The further evidence relied upon by the FCA in rejecting those applications includes WPPL’s failure to co-operate properly with the Financial Ombudsman Service in relation to complaints made by customers about the firm. The FCA has also relied upon adverse findings made against Mr Hart in the High Court, including that he was not a credible witness and had provided evidence to the court which he knew to be false.

Notes to editors

  1. Summary of the Final Notices for Andrew Hart and WPPL (Authorisation)

  2. On 14 July 2016 the FCA published Decision Notices issued to Andrew Barry Hart and WPPL. The FCA has now issued Final Notices in relation to those proceedings, as below:
    The Final Notice for Andrew Hart (Enforcement)
    The Final Notice for WPPL (Enforcement)

  3. On 1 April 2014, the FCA took over responsibility for consumer credit regulation from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

  4. WPPL is a consumer credit firm that previously held interim permission to provide payday loans (a form of high-cost short-term credit) under the trading names 'Payday Overdraft', ‘Wagepayday’ and ‘Doshloans’. Mr Hart is the sole director, controller and ultimate owner of WPPL.

  5. Mr Hart is not an approved person. During the interim permission period following the transfer of regulation of the consumer credit sector from the OFT to the FCA, there was no requirement for senior managers of consumer credit firms to be approved. Upon application for full authorisation, such individuals will need to become approved persons.

  6. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

  7. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  8. Find out more information about the FCA.