Ms Geraldine Teng wrote to the Straits Times forum “Personal consultant says: 'Consumers should understand the immense pressure we are facing’” dated 6 October 2008.
According to the above letter, the adviser from a bank revealed the inner workings of a bank. From the letter she alleged that:
- Her bank imposes a six months probation for which if she does not pass the probation by hitting the required sales target, she would have to leave and pay a penalty (apparently she is bonded. Why?)
- The bank discriminates the kind of product she sells. She sold $500,000 in insurance but still cannot meet sales target.
- The bank trains their advisers to promote certain products to meet the needs of its consumer (note: for those who cannot understand the implication: The ethical way is to understand the clients’ needs first and then source for the appropriate products. Promoting a product and “trying” to fit it to the clients’ needs is called product pushing).
While I cannot say on behalf of other advisers and firms in the industry, this is my own personal testimony:
- I have no “probation”.
- There is no penalty for breaking the “contract”. Those who wish to resign can just resign. Free world here.
- I have no sales target to meet. Not even $1. I can bring in zero sales in the month and nothing will happen to me.
- There is no product discrimination. I can recommend any product I want without worrying that I will lose my job. The only thing is that all recommendations must be reasonable, fair and objective in accordance to law.
- Tons of product manufacturers to choose from. From simple products to highly complex-cannot-understand-never-heard-before-exotic-but-toxic-waste products are available. Of course I usually recommend the easy to understand ones.
I have often heard the excuses of other firms that says that if there is no sales quota imposed, advisers will not be motivated to work. Such a statement reflects the inner mindset of these firms with regard to the way they do their business. They are still living in the era of yesteryear. Advisers are supposed to be professionals. They are full-grown adults. If they are not keen to work, they will automatically have no pay and eventually die (literally since no pay => nothing to eat). So there is no need to worry for them. Advisers are not babies. If a baby refuses to eat, this is of a concern to parents. If an adult refuse to work, who cares? Anyway for consumers, always ask your adviser whether do they have a sales quota. If yes, their firm is treating them like babies. Do you dare to entrust your money and wealth with these babies?
As for Geraldine Teng – the writer of the letter - my advise to you is:
- Pay off your bond by borrowing some money from your mummy or daddy. Friends also can. It is better to be indebted to your parents than to sell your soul and ruin countless lives and families. Do you want to ruin someone’s parents, grandparents or someone’s education opportunity by selling rubbish products? Would you sell toxic waste to your own mother or father?
- Your production of $500,000 of insurance premium is impressive (I assumed it is FY regular premium.) If you have recommended such insurance based on clients’ needs, you are better off being an IFA. You can recommend superior products than those from the banks. But you’ll not get such high production as an IFA because you have no brand backing you up. As you know, most consumers are silly people who prefer to buy from “branded” institutions whom they think is great (yeah, great for selling toxic waste like CDOs). But if you could have a production of say $100,000 (one fifth) of FY regular premium, you can pay off your bond many times and still can get married and have a life of your own without selling your own soul. Moreover, you will have the chance to save lives by recommending insurance products that can save families from destruction when something devastating happens to them.
- You can do all these without a single sales quota imposed on you.
Finally I do not know the writer personally but somehow I got a gut feeling that she brought this upon herself. Why? Because this is a free world and free-flow of information. She just need to do a search at google.com and she will know what it takes to be an adviser with an institution with high sales quota. She also will discover some firms imposing zero sales quota and no contract bond to pay if one did not pass the "probation" period.
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