FCA bans payday lender over forged documents

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The FCA has banned a payday loan provider and its director after he submitted evidence to the High Court containing “sham or forged documents”.

The regulator banned Andrew Barry Hart, the sole director and owner of Wage Payment and Payday Loans Limited, from performing any role in regulated financial services.

It cancelled WPPL’s interim permission and refused its application for authorisation as well as that of Hart to be an approved person.

In a decision notice, the FCA said Hart “took a reckless approach to managing the affairs of WPPL” and pointed to a High Court judgment which found Hart had “advanced what he knew to be a false case, supported by forged or sham documents which, to his knowledge, contained false information, and he was found to have given untrue evidence”.

Decision notices published in July of this year were referred to the Upper Tribunal. However, those references have since been withdrawn.

The FCA banned Hart on the grounds that 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.

FCA director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “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.”

The further evidence relied upon by the FCA in rejecting applications includes WPPL’s failure to co-operate properly with the Financial Ombudsman Service in relation to complaints made by customers about the firm.