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Editor’s comment of the week: Bank advice problems come from the top

The problem is that those advisers who want to do a proper job within the banking community have been ignored and pressurised to resign by some of the tactics mentioned.

It is no good just investigating the incentive schemes you have to go deeper and examine the cultures of the banks including the bully-boy tactics.

I saw many of my colleagues reduced to nervous wrecks because of bully-boy management techniques. I didn’t work for Lloyds but I have worked for some major banks and building societies and am glad to say I left to start my own firm because of some of these tactics.

We keep hearing how bad our banks are but is not the banks are bad is the people at the top that encourage these cultures that are totally based on selling a product rather than servicing clients.

How can you do 15 appointments in a week – I remember having one manager he said I should have 10 booked fact finding meetings, seven booked presentations and at least five sales (allowing for two cancelled appointments) and if I didn’t I would be on an audio explaining the reasons why I didn’t. It’s okay if your performance on sales is above target but as soon as it slips this performance management style comes into force.

It didn’t matter if you were up to your eyeballs in paperwork you are expected to do that as well as the appointments and if you had to work 72 hours to do it so be it.

When I was working for a building society I took paperwork home and worked till midnight to make sure I was up to date as I just didn’t have enough time during the working day, as my diary was so booked full of appointments.

With regards to audios I remember having one manager that stated “you always give people a hard time on Fridays so they have all weekend to worry about it so they come back on Monday work harder to make sure they are not on an audio on Friday. That really stuck in my head.

Banks have been cutting staff for years and it has got worse with all of the mergers so when is the regulator going to force banks to start hiring staff as they clearly don’t have adequate systems in place to service their clients.

I could write a whole book on this and I hope that Money Marketing will run further articles as this subject really does need to be highlighted.

It is interesting that banks and building societies are quick to point out the secrecy clause in your contract if you voice concerns. This secrecy clause is meant to only be used in connection with client data but some managers use this as a way of trying to hush you up and threaten legal action if you want to take things the FSA. Maybe that explains why banks and building societies have been getting away with it for so long – after all most people who work within banks are just normal individuals wanting to earn a living.

The reasons why I’m using my real name in this case is that I want to get others to speak out as we will not change our industry for the better until the voices of the employees of these organisations are heard and the regulator does what they should have been doing all along, which is rooting out these cultures and banning the directors and managers that caused misery not only for the customers but also for the hard-working bank employees.

Peter Herd


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