Regulation  

PPI director gets nine year ban for misleading clients

PPI director gets nine year ban for misleading clients

The director of a PPI claims management firm will be unable to run a company for the next nine years after its high-pressure sales tactics were judged to breach UK regulations.

Christopher Ross White, former director of Rock Law, had already been fined over half a million pounds by the Claims Management Regulator, which had judged that customers had been coerced into signing contracts without being given enough time to understand terms and conditions.

His business then went into liquidation in November 2015, owing over £1m to creditors, including the record £570,000 fine, which the Claims Management Regulator had said "demonstrates how seriously we take protecting the public from this exploitation".

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Mr Ross, 35, of Gorseinon, Swansea, was the sole director of Rock Law.

Sue Macleod, an Insolvency Service Chief Investigator of Insolvent Investigations, who was involved in the investigation, said

“Directors have a duty to ensure they exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence over company operations and that they do not allow the company to breach legislation resulting in financial penalties which impact upon the company’s continued success. This should serve as a warning to other directors who may feel tempted to breach legislation intended to serve as protection for the public.”

The Rock Law fine was part of a government plan to clean up the PPI claims industry after the Financial Ombudsman Service was swamped with PPI misselling complaints from 2010 onwards.

PPI claims management companies offer to help customers who may have been missold PPI to claim from banks and other providers, typically in return for a percentage of the claim.

However, customers can claim PPI back themselves, without the need for a company to help.

The Claims Management Regulator, currently part of the Ministry of Justice, is in charge of ensuring that Claims Management companies do not breach the law.

The regulator, which will be transferred to the Financial Conduct Authority by 2018, issued £1.7m of fines in the 2015-16 financial year, and cancelled 66 licences for firms to operate.

The regulator found that Rock Law was failing to control and monitor its salesmen and women, who gave misleading content during sales calls. The firm also failed to maintain appropriate records.

Mr White’s directorships include Rock Law, which is in liquidation, CompareProtect Ltd, a company which he resigned from last October, and Home Energy Network, also in liquidation.

There was no answer when FTAdviser called his home number today.