A Yorkshire consultancy that helps firms to meet the standards required by the UK’s financial services watchdog has secured a £200,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), as new rules increase demand for its services.
The Compliance Company helps financial services firms and those offering consumer credit to gain authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and comply with the rules. The company, which currently employs 15 staff and has offices in Leeds and Derby, has increased client numbers by 13% in the past year. It now supports around 350 businesses throughout the UK such as lenders, insurance brokers and claims management companies as well as motor dealers and retailers offering payment plans.
The funding will enable it to gear up for the expected growth in demand as tougher standards are introduced and regulations are extended to other sectors. From July, funeral plan providers must be authorised by the FCA, and the government is also planning to regulate some types of ‘buy now pay later’ lending and crypto assets.
Meanwhile, firms which are already regulated are facing new obligations, such as the Consumer Duty guidance which aims to improve the standards of care they offer consumers. Further initiatives include efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and encourage investment in green energy as the UK moves towards its net zero goals in the financial services sector.
The Compliance Company was founded in 2013 by Ian Beardmore after the FCA took over as the UK’s financial regulator for consumer credit. It was one of the first consultancies to help companies comply with the demands of the new regime and is now one of the leading firms of its type in the UK. The business, which also offers e-learning courses, expects to create at least two new jobs in the coming months.
Ian Beardmore, founder, said: “As the regulatory landscape has undergone a major shake-up in recent years, our consultants have been helping companies to navigate the changes and operate in a compliant way. The company has been expanding steadily and the introduction of new standards will only create additional demand for our services. The funding from Mercia and NPIF will help us to take the business to the next level.”
Andy Clough of Mercia, said: “FCA regulation is vital to protect consumers but the rules can be a real burden to smaller businesses without a dedicated compliance specialist. The Compliance Company plays a valuable role in helping them to meet their obligations, and in supporting a vibrant financial services sector. The business is already one of the UK market leaders and the funding will help it to continue its growth and take advantage of new opportunities.”
Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: “There is an abundance of opportunities that access to finance can unlock for businesses in the North. With this loan, The Compliance Company is able to create new jobs and prepare for a surge in demand brought upon by new regulation. By supporting companies adapting to new market trends, NPIF is able play a key role in the dynamic Northern business environment.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.