Are Britain’s regulators struggling to regulate?

According to a report in the Daily Mail’s Financial page, the feeling is that Britain’s financial regulators have failed to get a handle on the instant cash loan explosion, which appears to be getting even more brazen every day.

The most recent OFT (Office of Fair Trading) action is a belated revoking of the licence to trade of Yes Loans, a short term loans broker, together with two of their associated companies, Money Worries and Blue Sky Personal Finance. The appeal against the decision will take a month, but the companies are able to trade right throughout that period and are taking a rather belligerent view of the regulator’ s action.

The OFT moved to revoke these companies’ licences on the grounds that they had been operating “oppresive and deceitful business practices” over a long period of time.

The Financial Mail says that the investigation into these companies had actually started three years ago and it seems to have taken the latest burst of public outrage against some of the worst of the short term loans sector’s activities to get the OFT to actually do anything.

Yes Loans appears to be doing very nicely from its business ventures into the short term loans world, if the family home of the owners is any indication – a ₤850,000 mansion with accompanying swimming pool in a gated compound in South Wales.

The family who owns and manages Yes Loans and the other two subsidiary companies have been in the limelight before. Father Chorlton, now deceased, was barred way back in 2000 from remaining as a director of a dating venture called “Close Encounters of the Best Kind”, apparently because he was diverting funds from the business into his own personal bank account.

In 2008, the BBC’s Money Box programme recorded at least 1,000 complaints against Yes Loans and in 2009, the OFT issued 15 requirements to be made by the company, which were not followed up until this year, resulting in the recent revoking of the licence. In 2010, the Ministry of Justice ordered one of Yes Loans’ subsidiaries to make recordings of all their phone conversations with customers, in order to monitor staff behaviour.


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