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60 seconds with Tim Wheeldon, Joint Managing Director, Fluent Money

Do you expect to see any new entrants in the secured loans market this year?
We expect to see a small number, but I think it will be next year before we see the return of some old names or the appearance of large lenders.

Do you have any concerns about secured loans being transferred from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority in 2014?
The decision has not yet been made regarding the future of secured loans regulation. The new FCA is still only a possibility for regulating our industry. On the whole, the FCA being our regulator doesn’t worry me, provided we can carve out a specific rulebook for loans under that framework – similar to the way equity release has been treated under Financial Services Authority regulation – which distinguishes us from the mortgage market.

A number of secured loan firms have gone into administration leaving behind payment protection insurance liabilities. what do you think about this?
No firm that sold PPI correctly deserves to have made losses or to have ceased trading. If the Financial Ombudsman Service believed the PPI products were toxic, then the insurance companies that created them should have shouldered more of the burden.
But if it was just mis-selling, it is ludicrous for FOS to tarnish all PPI sales with the same brush as it has the big banks. The winners in all of this have been not customers but claims management companies that have used the situation to put millions of pounds into their own pockets.

If you could change one thing about the secured loan market what would it be?
I’d increase the number of lenders so we could offer products to more customers.

If you could invite three people to a dinner party who would they be?
Johnny Depp, Stephen Fry and Ayrton Senna.

Do you have any secret talents?
Racing driver – I’ve been on the podium for 32 out of my 48 races and won 15.

What is your favourite film and why?
Pulp Fiction – “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead”. Says it all, really.

What is your most treasured possession and why?
Aside from my wife and kids, a Swiss Army knife my stepdaughters bought for me.

Interview by Natalie Thomas


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