Financial services Umbrella Company employees contracting as risk and compliance specialists are poised to see an explosion in demand from the payday loans market after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) forced Wonga to write off £220m in debts owed by customers who could not afford repayments.

Recruitment experts have already seen a 30% increase in senior level instructions compared to this time last year and are confidently predicting a further 30% leap.

The FCA ruled that 330,000 Wonga customers in arrears for 30 days or over should have their debts written off. A further 45,000 customers will not be required to pay interest on their outstanding loans and will be allowed to repay over an extended period of four months.

The regulator has also ordered Wonga to develop a permanent lending decision platform with robust affordability checks, which in turn will be independently monitored by an expert reporting directly to the FCA.

The director of the specialist recruitment firm MERJE, Richard Abelson, said that the ruling “will undoubtedly come as a huge wake-up call to businesses within the sector”, all of which will now need to demonstrate that their risk and compliance procedures are capable of standing up to the tough investigations now being conducted.

Mr Abelson continued: “Skill shortages, and competition to secure the best employees when filling risk and compliance roles, have traditionally been a real issue within the industry. The FCA’s recent clampdown will only compel decision makers to invest further in recruitment for these positions, as the need for candidates with solid regulatory and risk management experience heightens.”

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