View more on these topics

Sales tactics make bank advice a ‘numbers game’


It was with great disappointment – but little surprise – I read of the experiences of former bank staff following the Which? Banking Commission in last week’s Money Marketing (Bank accounts, March 18).

I worked at Barclays for 17 years, mostly as a corporate relationship manager. In my time, I witnessed the steady erosion of the manager’s ability to do anything remotely useful to assist clients, through the removal of lending discretions from those who genuinely knew clients’ business and their replacement by faceless credit teams, more often than not with little clue as to the more complex lending and security arrangements needed. I was asked, “What is a debenture?” on numerous occasions. Of course, the manager had to take ownership of the decisions he/she had not actually made and convey them to the client.

The manager became little more than a postboy and the whole focus of the role changed to one of selling the bank’s products – irrespective of suitability – through a series of targeted campaigns. The targets set bore no relevance to the individual manager’s portfolio make-up, it was simply a numbers game. The final straw for me was the team manager making it very clear during one campaign that PPI was “not optional” and that any loans sold without it would not count towards our target. The poor client was effectively put over a barrel if they wanted the loan. I left soon afterwards, at a cost of around £30,000 in lost share options, as I could no longer operate in such an environment. I have never regretted the decision. As an IFA, I still deal with many individuals I met in my banking career and the horror stories continue to this day.

What saddens me most is the way the banks continue to deny this relentless micromanagement sales culture exists. This defies all credibility and if current staff members were not made so frightened by their (sales) managers, they would confirm the culture is very much alive and kicking.

Of course, it is the consumer that loses out, leading to misplaced regulation focusing, not on the major perpetrators of misselling in all its guises – that is, the banks – but on IFAs, the majority of which need genuine ongoing relationships with their clients in order to survive. It is high time the FSA stopped paying lip service to regulating such questionable sales tactics. This is not rocket science but does require the FSA shows real leadership. Maybe we will see this in the future but I am not holding my breath.

HBFS Financial Services


Jason Witcombe:  Evolve Financial Planning

Referral points

The days of buying lists of clients to build up an advisory business are fading but how should a modern advice practice go about generating new
clients? Our two advisers agree that referrals are the ideal but differ on how to go about it and the other ways of building up a client base

Analysts sceptical at growth forecasts

Analysts were unconvinced by Chancellor Alistair Darling’s predictions of bullish growth after 2010. Darling revised his forecast for growth over the next three years. He said GDP would grow by between 1 and 1.5 per cent over the next year and would grow by 3 to 3.5 per cent in 2011/12. Ignis Asset Management chief […]


West End buoys

Gregor Watt reports that London is leading the way with a rental recovery


Case study: administration — managing group life schemes

Our client leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media. The trustees of the company’s final salary pension scheme insure death-in-service lump sum and dependants’ pension death benefits for active employees, as well as dependants’ pension benefits for deferred members (those who have left service).


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm