Financial Conduct Authority  

Prime minister backs Lloyds whistleblower's FCA fight

Prime minister backs Lloyds whistleblower's FCA fight

Prime Minister Theresa May has given her support to a Lloyds whistleblower in his fight to get the regulator to take action over alleged widespread wrongdoing at the bank.

Ian Taplin has been in regular contact with Ms May, who is also his local MP for Maidenhead, for a number of years regarding his complaints about Lloyds, securing 14 meetings with her on the issue.

Now, according to Mr Taplin, Ms May’s office has sent him an email to say she “understands his frustration” and is pressing for a meeting with City Minister Simon Kirby about the matter.

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Mr Taplin branded the Financial Conduct Authority “incompetent” over its refusal to act against Lloyds. He first raised a complaint about the bank with the regulator in 2012.

He has claimed the bank segmented life insurance customers in such a way that poorer customers were offered much more expensive products from a restricted range.

This practice is alleged to have cost poorer customers tens of thousands of pounds more in life cover than the bank’s wealthier clients.

Ms May wrote to Mr Taplin in April, when she was still home secretary, to say she had written to Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey about his case.

She said she had asked Mr Bailey to explain why Mr Taplin’s second complaint about Lloyds to the FCA was rejected.

Mr Taplin said he is hoping to achieve a proper investigation into why there was segmentation of customers at Lloyds, where he worked between 2005 and 2010.

“This affects hundreds of thousands of people, six thousand in Theresa May’s own constituency. This is why she is interested,” Mr Taplin told FTAdviser.

 “There was a 30 to 40 per cent difference between the best contract available to high net-worth clients and the Scottish Widows standard offered to poorer clients – that’s £20,000 difference over the 30 year life of the policy.”

Mr Taplin said he was was fired by Lloyds for gross misconduct after blowing the whistle on what he alleged were wrongdoings at the bank in 2010.

He said he refused a financial settlement offered by Lloyds, but has been unable to find work in financial services since he was fired.

“Nobody will employ me. I’m doing a lot of voluntary work, helping other whistleblowers,” he said.

Mr Taplin is working with the Whistleblowers’ Support Group, as well as small business action group SME Alliance.

“There is a fightback going on from businesses against bank and the regulator.”

The FCA and Lloyds both declined to comment.

laura.miller@ft.com