Advantage Insurance Company Escapes UK Regulator Oversight

Advantage Insurance Company Limited (Advantage) is a Gibraltar-based company that was formed in 2002 and is authorised by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission to sell various insurance products in the United Kingdom. This authorisation is made possible by the Gibraltar Financial Services Act 2019 (as amended) and Directive 2009/138/EC (SII Directive), which was adopted by the Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament in November 2009.

If Advantage had been incorporated in England and Wales or even Scotland, the company would be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is the conduct regulator for 59,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK and the prudential regulator for over 18,000 of those firms. Advantage is not regulated by the FCA and does not disclose who its directors are or who the ultimate controller or controllers are, as is required by the Companies Act 2006.

The purpose of the FCA is to protect UK consumers.

Advantage is owned by Hastings Group Holdings plc, which through a maze of UK and Jersey-based companies owns Hastings Insurance Services Limited (Hastings), which in effect acts as a broker for its own policies. Policies provided by Hastings describe Advantage as the 'underwriter' of the policy but do not disclose the close relationship of the two companies.

Hastings is regulated by the FCA and in 2008 Hastings was fined £735,000 in respect of breaches of Principle 6 of the FSA's Principles for Businesses, because of wholesale cancellations of customer policies.


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