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Gordon Brown: I made a big mistake when setting up FSA

Gordon Brown has admitted he made a big mistake while setting up the FSA because he did not appreciate the entangled relationships of financial services institutions.

In a keynote speech to the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Bretton Woods conference in New Hampshire on Saturday, Brown said the FSA was set up on the assumption problems would come from individual institutions.

He said: “We set up the FSA believing the problem would come from an individual institution. That was a big mistake. We did not understand just how entangled things were.

“We did not understand how risk was spread across the system, we did not understand the entanglements of different institutions and we did not understand, even though we talked about it, just how global things were.

“So we created a monitoring system which looked at individual institutions. That was the big mistake.”

Brown told the conference that he accepted his part of the responsibility adding that the crash had led people to completely reconsider how financial services are regulated and that he was not the only one who had made mistakes.”

He said: “I have got to accept my responsibility and I do, and I have been very open about saying we made mistakes on that. But in a world where the understanding of what global meant was incomplete, I think many writers as well as many regulators made exactly the same mistake.”

Brown said he had come under “relentless pressure” from banks not to over-regulate. Last April he said in a television interview that “we should have been regulating them more”.

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There are 58 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Prime Minister Blair made a big mistake not sacking the man who spent 10 years plotting to depose him. The Labour Party made a big mistake by appointing a new leader without an election.

  2. Listen , consult the people in the industry,legislate.
    so simple

  3. Don’t worry Gordon at least you have said sorry – that will make me feel much better now and understand why the FSA aren’t to harsh on the Banks with implementing regulation. I’m sorry to say it is to late to realise the error.

  4. And we all made a big mistake in 1999/2000 by not opposing the nonsense that is FSMA.

    We won’t make the same mistake this time around

  5. Horse….stable-door…..bolted!

  6. The problem was that he did consult with people in the industry. The wrong people!

  7. At last a politician telling the truth! When is he going to admit to the many other mistakes he made, like selling the family silver as soon as he took office (our gold reserves), spending all this country’s money on mainly wasteful enterprise and stealing from the children of this country who will have years of higher taxes to repay the debt he created?

  8. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 11th April 2011 at 11:03 am

    This man was always a fool and always will be. And good old ‘New Labour’ are in the same camp. The country now on it’s knees with no accountability for the people who set the system up which includes the failed FSA. If he wanted practice his Trostky ideas why doen’t he just go and live in a communist state. Of course he won’t as he wants his cake and eat it by being in what used to be a ‘democratic’ country.

    Thanks for nothing Mr Borwn.

  9. This is the guy you just over a year ago, was telling us that the tripartite system was working, now he’s got the nerve to actually admit his mistakes, only because he’s not in power.

    Everybody in financial services with half a brain was telling him that the FSA was not fit for purpose. The last person you should actually trust is a gambler, who tells you that they do not need regulation, after all that’s what I would describe most bankers, as been gamblers, who are hooked on big bonuses and have little care of the institutions they work for and their future well-being.

  10. Politicians, regulatorss, beaurocrats....yuk 11th April 2011 at 11:06 am

    NO!
    These people talk things up to be more complicated than they are. It was simple. Not MORE regulation, just COMPETENT and effective regulation was needed. 3 easy steps:
    Decide what the crucial thing that regulation should be delivering is (ie in this case presumably that banks shouldnt lose all the depositors money!!), then work out a SOLUTION that delivers it (ie not one that doesnt, which is what they normally do!!) and then implement it in the most effective way possible. Its no more complex than that. and if they are not up to the job, then they should have resigned and let other people do it.

  11. Too late to admit this now Mr Brown and quess who are “paying” for your mistakes?
    Accepting responsibility is easy to say Mr Brown especially when you do not have to pay for “your” mistakes.

    I wonder how you would feel if MP’s had to “pay” for mistakes they made or their colleagues?

  12. Gordon Brown’s biggest mistake was taking on the role of Chancellor. His actions have led to the destruction of what was probably the finest occupational pension arrangements in the world and the total sceptism of the general public in financial services.
    Whatever the rights or wrongs of industrial branch insurance, for decades the UK enjoyed the facility of an individual agent calling on the council and ‘sink’ estates and encouraging people to save and protect their possessions and families. Not everyone then, or now, enjoy the ‘luxury’ of mainstream banking. Regulatory interference destroyed this framework.
    And now IFA’s seem to be under constant attack from the regulatory scrutiny. What chance the average individual being able to access advice channels when required? Simplified advice and decision trees do not fit in with holistic planning from a qualified and trusted adviser. The FSA spent in excess of £22 Million on ‘financial capability’ in one year alone. No wonder fees are rising.
    So yes, Gordon Brown may have created a monster with the FSA (judgement reserved) but he should be able to view the real villain and destroyer of a historic legacy every time he looks in the mirror.

  13. How much is he being paid by the conference organisers to tell evertyone about his gross ineptitude?
    ‘Freebie’ Blairs still gets paid-what type of sensible person would pay to listen to these two idiots?

  14. The FSA made the mistakes of focussing too much on consumer outcomes and not enough on the Prudential risks.

    A Twin Peaks model will address this better but IFA’s won’t see much difference under the FCA. But then that it is probably a good thing because as most spend 99% of their time moaning about regulation at least they won’t have to change tact.

  15. Go on get it off your chest and feel better, pity you cannot be punished for your poor vision, lack of research, not knowing your “client”, inappropriate suitablitiy of your advice etc etc, but it’s ok don’t you worry we’ll pick up the tab….again, what a bafoon.

  16. Brown said he had come under “relentless pressure” from banks not to over-regulate. Last April he said in a television interview that “we should have been regulating them more”.

    Can you imagine IFA’s applying relentless pressure not to regulate them?
    The FSA would simply deploy bulldozers.
    This is why the FSA have over regulated small business for a decade, they had nothing else to do.They recently announced how well their small firm supervision is working! No wonder, they have spent all their time and energy, not to mention their big fat budget making sure IFA’s can tick more and more boxes while the banks were bringing the country and the economy to their knees.
    Was it really GBs fault or the regulators?
    No, it was “collective intellectual failure on a global scale” That way no one is to blame. The buck stops with no one.
    It is like “where’s Wally” there are so many of them you cannot find him.
    Now that the FSA are forced to regulate banks they will need to get rid of all those annoying little advisers.
    FIVE HUNDRED MILLION is not enough to regulate the banks AND those little fish.
    When will someone take control of this useless parasite of an organisation which contributes nothing to society but costs us all dearly?

  17. It is very unfortunate and revealing that those elected to lead do not understand, do not listen and are driven by an ideal which is not connected to reality and is dangerous.

    Mr Brown, I am sure is not a bad chap but the size of his blunder in the area of economics, the FSA and of course selling our gold is of catastrophic proportions.

    I would hope that no one in public office would do such as has been done in a calculated and deliberate way. When you damage the country you damage the people, they have to pick up the tab for the problems created by the MP’s who do not listen.

    When and if they eventually listen you could end up with a fudging of the issues which may happen with pensions.

    They get well paid and do not seem to be aware of the responsibilty they carry.

  18. The FSMA AND the FSA – A mistake of truly biblical proportions Gordon !

    Trouble is, you and your like dont pay for the mistake Gordon do you !!!!

  19. Right Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Co., opportunity beckons, listen, take it and sort it, now!

  20. “I have got to accept my responsibility and I do, and I have been very open about saying we made mistakes on that”.

    So what does this mean exactly? If I, as an IFA, ever have to do this it costs me money because I have to make restitution for my honest mistakes.

    How much restitution will you make Mr Brown????

  21. Take note Hector you could be the next person to appologies after you put thousands out of work.

    Thats why YOU and the FSA must be accountable

  22. Sympathy for admitting his mistake? No chance.

    Gordon Brown will go down as one of the worst PMs this country has ever produced. Actually he is Scottish isn’t he?

    A totally incompetent power crazed lunatic (no not Gaddafi) who should NEVER have ousted Tony Blair.

    Now we have Labour clowns trying to say the budget is this and that….just keep quiet and get on with doing nothing.

  23. Well gentlemen if we think that Blair, Brown et al did such a bad job how about pooling some cash and finding a barrister who wants immortality to investigate the grounds for a charge of Treason–I’m convinced that what happened was deliberate and not the result of ineptitude and mis-calculation–for once let’s nail some of these greedy wasters and put them away for a long time as a warning to the rest.

  24. Harry @11.27
    No need for racism.
    Are you infering that it is because he is scottish, he is one of the worst PMs the country has ever produced?
    Or are you harping back to the days of Charles the first?
    Either way you are showing your prejudice. Not very professional now is it?

  25. Steven Farrall (Adviser Alliance) 11th April 2011 at 11:41 am

    In other words he just ‘didn’t undersatnd’. A lot of us told him this at the time. And he still doesn’t understand/ What. A. Prat.

  26. You better dig deep to pay for your mistakes.

    My bill is in the post.

  27. Surely this is a good moment for the Coalition to start stripping the FSA of its powers and to re-think the whole regulatory edifice that has done so much harm over the past decade.

    And given that no-one except the FSA wants RDR, the Coalition should scrap it now – unless Osbourne & Co want to be making a similar speech to Brown’s a few years from now.

    Come on – start listening !

  28. Green Eyed Monster 11th April 2011 at 12:11 pm

    GB’s admission that he got regulation wrong should be used to support the push to have the FSMA 2000 overturned. If the PM who introduced it says it was wrong then who is there around now who would try to defend it? apart from the power crazed labour appointed FSA?
    Lets focus on helping Alan Lakey get this legislation burned!

  29. An interested party 11th April 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I think those who have commented already on this story should take a cold hard look at themselves. You come across as small minded obsessives. It can only realistically be Gordon Brown’s fault sioley if the UK was the only country in the World inrecession. Were our banks the only ones to fail. Is Gordon Brown to blame for Greece, Portugal, Ireland, for the US recession. For wobbly French banks?

    Come on guys get real.

  30. And Mark Hoban accepts The Golden Brown Legacy 11th April 2011 at 12:55 pm

    And Mark Hoban MP is to accept lock stock and barrel The FSA RDR which will kill off 20/30% of advisers and ongoing many more as they struggle to sell intangible products via fee charges. This is in spite of the last failure as witnessed by Stakeholder Pensions where distribution costs were removed along with distribution.

  31. Haven’t hear Mr Brown giving up anything to help pay for his mistakes though.

    Giving up some of his enhanced pension would be a good start.

    If only we could walk away from mistakes we or others in our industry make with no financial implications but sadly we are liable for our advice until we die thanks to Mr Brown and his beloved FSA.

    Justice and fairness are not served here at all.

  32. Well well well

    Like the old saying go’s Mr Brown, dont s**t on the people on the way up as you meet them again on the way down !!!

    Now its time for Dave & co to sort this out, those familier with 80’s classics “Rip it up and start again.

    As for “an interested party” you are right world recession was not Gordons fault and our banks were not the only one’s to fail, but if he had listened to people and not followed his own agenda and arrogance, we would’nt be in this mess now & stuck with the FSA bullies who answer to no-one.

  33. Gerald Lambourne 11th April 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for that Gordon – however, the rest of us are still suffering from that expensive error. Remind me again what’s the average wage of their two thousand employees?

  34. So, regulators are NOT independent? We knew that Gordon.

  35. Interested Party@12.34
    FSMA 2000 IS solely Gordon Browns fault.
    Together with the FSA it was set up as world class regulation/regulator.
    At the time the FSA announced that it wanted to be “the best regulator in the world”
    GB has just admitted HE got it wrong.
    Nothing small minded in agreeing with him.
    We are the ones who must continue to live and work under this failure.
    It is not small mindedness that drives us, it is sheer frustration.

  36. should have employed an ifa or at least used services of one ifa to understand
    no excuses

  37. AT Anonymous | 11 Apr 2011 1:59 pm

    Please what would an IFA know about the Prudential regulation of banks, IFAs knowledge of compliance is poor at the best of times and is limited to a small area of consumer regulation. No wonder you are anonymous you are an idiot.

  38. Poor old anonymous, that was like being Mauled by a beakless budgie.

  39. Frazer
    Since when were consumers regulated?

  40. Anonymous | 11 Apr 2011 2:25 pm

    Yet again another ridiculous comment, I have not stated consumers are regulated. There are however parts of the FSA various conduct of business rulebooks which relate to consumer outcomes. When you want to comment on a article read what it is about before adding an inane comment about IFA’s in a piece about banking regulation. Okay we all know by now that some IFA’s have a problem with the FSA because of RDR and the dreaded death of commission and fear of an exam a plenty, but you lose the argument when your response is out of context. Besides nothing will change when the FSA goes (or changes its name) it will be the same rules for IFA’s so you still be moaning about the regulator, mostly because you don’t like being told you are not doing things right.

  41. So now all we need is MP’s to be regulated and be liable for their advice, legislation and mistakes for the rest of the lives like we are !!!

    Oh dear was it this Government that promised us “freedom fairness and responsibility” well WHERE IS IT THEN?

  42. Take a chill pill Frazer!
    Are you a mate of nasty nics by any chance?

  43. Well, thanks Gordon for admitting your mistakes, this certainly goes a long way to make me feel better about the years good solid IFAs have had to put up with so much anguish, sleepless nights, frustration and anger at the way we have and still are being treated. This article should be sent to every MP in the land, every newspaper so they can see what resentment there is for Gordon Brown and the FSA. It’s a good job there are decent MPs like Harriett Baldwin, Mark Garnier, Andrew Tyrie who appreciate what we have been through for so many years!

  44. Surely anyone with half a brain could see that more and more regulation in everything (nanny state!) results in the general public not bothering to listen to advice and read words of warning; they win both ways. When things go right they have a return on their investments, when they go t***s up they can look for someone to blame and claim compensation that those people who didn’t take a gamble in the first place will have to pay for.
    When is the government going to realise that the more regulation we put in place, the less protection there will be as many people who might seek general advice will not want to pay for it and be left (at worst) without savings, pensions or cover for their families and at best with inadequate provision in many cases as they have sought online information without the understanding.

    I’d like a pound for everyone who told me they’d made a claim for misselling (on anything) just in the hope of getting a payout; I#d like to know just how many consumers had a genuine claim!!!

  45. Okay, so what are we now going to do about the unaccountable monster created by the FSMA 2000? That is what we should all now be focussed on, and the main push should be for a Regulatory Oversight Committee with the power to instruct the FSA/FCA, if appropriate, that what they propose is wrong and will not be allowed to proceed. We cannot right the wrongs of the past. We must look to the future.

  46. What is the point of Frazer Maul?

  47. MR. JOGGA SINGH TEIDY (BA Hons RGN DipSMgt CertEd DSC MCSM CEMAP) SAYS…

    IS HE THE BUMBLING BUFFOON? HAS HE FINALLY REALISED HE IS IMPRUDENT?

    AND WHAT IS GOING TO DO ABOUT WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE POLICY UNDER HIS, HIS, HIS, HARRIET HARMAN?

    IF BY HIS OWN ADMISSION HE HAS MADE ERRORS, THEN FOR ANY OTHER PUBLIC SERVANT IT WOULD LEAD TO SOME FORM OF DEMISE! THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO OUR ELECTED NOR OUR JUDGES APPOINTED, EITHER! THE IDIOTS OF OUR SOCIETY JUST LIVE ON AND CARRY ON UNAFFECTED…GIVEN THAT THOSE WHO MAKE MISTAKES,SO GROSS ARE GENERALLY CALLED IDIOTS!

    I WANT SEE HIM AND THEM AND HARRIET HARMAN CALLED TO ACCOUNT, AND WHERE SYSTEMS OF ACCOUNTABILITY DO NOT EXIST, PARLIAMENT SHOULD BRING IN SUCH, FOR THE MASSES CANNOT BE DISSERVED SO GROSSLY!

    I WILL SEE TO IT THAT THESE SYSTEMS CHANGE AND THAT THE JUDICIARY WHILE INDEPENDENT, DELIVER JUSTICE AND NOT INJUSTICE I N D E N D E N T L Y!

    THEY HAVE INDEPENDENCE AND IMMUNITY TO SERVE JUSTICE, NOT USE AS FRONT TO BE OR REMAIN INCOMPETENT IN THEIR WORK!

    ARE THEY LEARNED? THEN WHY SO MUCH ERROR AND INJUSTICE?

    ARE THE JUDICIARY OF SUFFICIENT AND SUITABLE CHARACTER FOR THE JOB? THEN WHY CREATION AND TOLERATION OF PROCEDURES OF LAW WHICH THEY KNOW JOLLY WELL CREATE INJUSTICE, LOCK INNOCENTS IN INJUSTICE, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE LATER KNOW TO BE INNOCENT.

    AND WHY DOES THE STATE FREELY PURSUE AND CONVICT PEOPLE, PUT THEM THROUGH THE ABOVE SCENES OF LAW AND THEN EXPECTS TO PAY BY LOOSING ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD AND CHILDREN’S WELLBEING TO GO THROUGH THE INCOMPETENT LAW PROCEDURES BY THE RECKLESS? COULDN’T CARELESS JUDICIARY?

    WHO BLEAT, THE LAW IS A BLUNT INSTRUMENT…CANNOT THE ELECTED AND THE APPOINTED, CONSTRUCT A REFINED, FIT FOR THE PURPOSE LAWS, LIKE IN ANY PROFESSIONAL FIELD?

    WE NEED LEARNED AND MORE RLEVANTANTLY ABLE JUDICIARY OF BETTER SUITED TO THE JOB THAN THE ONES WE HAVE NOW…IN EMPLOYMENT AND CRIMINAL LAW…SAYS MR. JOGGA SINGH TEIDY.

    CRIMINAL PURSUITS IN THE IN INTEREST OF SERVICE ARE FREE, S SHOULD ALL MATTERS IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE BE AND PEOPLE NOT EXPECTED TO FIGHT FOR JUSTICE BY THEIR LIMITED FINANCIAL MEANS.

    NO MEANS TESTING, ALL PURSUITS AND ALL ASPECTS OF APPEAL SHOULD BE STATE FUNDED, SINCE THE STATE FREELY ENGAGES PEOPLE TO PROSECUTE INDIVIDUALS. IT CAN JOLLY WELL PUT THINGS RIGHT AS WELL FREELY!

    THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE, KENNETH CLARKE, SHOULD LINE MANAGING HIS LITTLE WIGGED LADDIES UNDER HIM, LIKE ANY OTHER MANAGER, SO WE DO NOT HAVE IRRELAVENT OCEDURES AND INCOMPETENT LAWS FALLING OUT OF THE FAT LADDIES MOUTHS…AND HE SHOULD GET SUITABLE UNDERLING TO HELP HIM DO THE JOB, IF HE WATS HIS 40 WINKS ON THE JOB.

    OUR GOVERNANCE IS A DISGRACE AS TO SERVICE AND JUSTICE AND THE POLICING IS A WASTE OF TIME, MAKING TH POLICE PARTIES TO THE CRIMES OF THE JUDICIARY…ON THE BASIS THAT CRIMINALS CREATE INJUSTICE, AND WHERE LEGALLY AND IN PAID CAPACITY OUR JUDICIARY DO THE SAME…WHO IS THE BIGGER CRIMINAL? AND WHAT DIFFERENCE IS IT TO THE VICTIM, IF A LEGAL INJUSTICE OR ILLEGAL JUSTICE IS SUFFERED BY THE VICTIM…NO DIFFERENCE! EXCEPT, THE COMMON CRIMINAL HIDES AWAY, THE LEGAL INJUSTICE DELIVERERS WALK FREELY AND OPENLY…BRAYING IN YOU FACE LIKE AS ****…THE COMMON PEOPLE ARE SAID THE LAW TO BE… BY THIS REASONING, ONLY ASSES CAN PRODUCE AS LIKE LAWS? I WANT THOROUGHBREDS OF OUR SOCIETY AS JUDICIARY!

    CLEARLY OUR DEMOCRACY DOES NOT WORK TO SERVE JUSTICE.

    JUST AS PEOPLE FELT THEY NEEDED TO INPUT INTO DECISION MAKING, AND THE MONARCHICAL SYSTEM NOT ALLOWING THIS BECAME DISBANDED.

    SO NOW A DISSERVICE BY THOSE ELECTED FROM AMONGST US, PROVIDING MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL DISSERVICE, REQUIRES OUR DEMOCRACY TO BE UPGRADED TO WHAT I CALL NEO-DEMOCRACY, SO AS TO CALL TO ACCOUNT AND CREATE A SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND MEASURES TO STOP ABUSES OF THE DOMESTIC AND WIDER SOCIETY BY THE ELECTED AND APPOINTED..

    MY SPACE LINK:

    http://www.myspace.com/jteidy

  48. @ Exasperated Me | 11 Apr 2011 8:29 pm

    How disappointing your debating skills slump to childish moronic insults, incapable of stringing together a decent sentence. You probably come across as incompetent with your clients, your demise in the industry will be greatly appreciated.

    @ Anonymous | 11 Apr 2011 6:22 pm

    As you are obviously oblivious to the fact I thought it may help you to know that poor performance of a correctly sold plan is not in itself a mis-sale, so it you do everything right there will be no compensation to pay.

  49. “take full responsibility…”
    What a load of rubbish.
    He defended the FSA to the bitter end he and his Scottish Mafia wrecked the banks that had taken 100’s of years to build up in just 10 years.
    None of the top directors were “bankers” in that period in that regard Fred “the shred” and his super injunction is right. They had no idea, the politicians and Mr.Brown was a long time disciple of Mr. Greenspan and even when warning bells were sounded (Ifa’s were writing to the press, the FSA and blogging about this way before the 2007 in fact I sold up in 2003 as I just knew it could not go on and was all going to end in tears of course it did go on – as the trend is your friend and it always goes on longer than you think – but only because the MPC artificially kept the interest rate low and stoked inflation to 3% in 2006 despite a recent record sterling high against the US dollar at 1.85 keeping Oil import price down and importing defaltion from China at around 1.4%) about unconstrained lending and asset inflation was shooting ahead so much that even main stream media was encouraging people to borrow and spend huge sums on the back of a never falling property market in the last few years of the artificial boom. Even at that time there was “No more Boom and Bust” (actually propounded by Greenspan first and repeated in the UK by Brown) he couldn’t see we were in the middle of a huge unearned debt fuelled boom.
    So now we who are left have to start to repay. That means lower living standards for the masses and a more riven and weaker society for all. And for 3 generations as i see no plan of action to start to earn our way out of this mess just more of the same to come for years and years.
    Where is the speech on the Chatham dockside?
    Wellington must be distressed and Nelson spluttering with rage whilst Chruchill must be fighting to get out to stop the few from wrecking the many.

  50. And the comment from the FSA itself is………..? None at all, as usual. It’s just foot hard down on the throttle of the RDR, regardless of what anyone else might think or say, least of all in response to the FSA’s token consultation exercise, on which it still obstinately refuses to publish for all to see and to debate just who said what. So much for its claims to being “an open and transparent regulator” ~ just more of the usual mendacious hogwash.

  51. I wouldnt believe Gordon if it was night and he said it was I’d still open the curtains to see.
    His years in the treasury taught him little.
    The regulator is running wild and the new name is no change.
    Calling a Lion a Tiger makes no difference if your the lamb.

    Expect trouble and be prepared for rafts of time wasting excersises to demonstrate your doing the job.

  52. In light of Brown’s remarks, surely a thorough independent review of RDR must now take place before 2012?

    That review should be carried out by a body which does not include, Sants, Nicholl or Turner.

  53. I wonder when he is going to admit that plundering pensions with his stealth tax was a mistake?

  54. So now that we realise the FSA was a mistake can somebody please abort it. I’ll check the yellow pages for clinics that arrange such procedures.

  55. There were plenty of people advising the UK and US Governments that things were highly entangled and that better regulation was needed, specifically in relation to derivatives and the reliance upon debt. I’m afraid that Mr Brown is not being entirely clever with his recollection of events.

  56. The FSA are still incompetent, they bang on about conduct risk and customer detriment to a building society that offers savings accounts and prime mortgages and yet pay day loan companies are charging 4,000% plus APR’s.

  57. Anonymous | 14 Apr 2011 1:20 pm

    Pay day loans are not FSA regulated they come under the OFT!!!!

  58. Sterto
    We know this but why are we regulated to the hilt whilst Pay day loan companies are allowed to operate in this manner.
    Why do you Sterto, Frazer Maul & Adam Smith feel the need to defend the regulator at every opportunity?

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