I REFER to the current market situation of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy which led to the DBS High Notes burst recently. I am a personal financial consultant in a local bank. There are some factors I feel must be revealed to protect consumers' rights.
First, banks usually state that there is seldom or no misrepresentation of products sold, and products are usually recommended based on consumers' needs. A financial needs analysis and fact find are usually done to ensure consumers have sufficient funds and a real need for the product. The fact is that we often face pressure to sell certain products so as to hit our sales target.
Take me, for instance. I am a fresh graduate from the National University of Singapore. I have a nine-month contract with a local bank, but I was told, if I did not pass probation in six months (hitting sales target), I would be asked to leave and pay the $3,000 bond.
So far, I have sold $500,000 in insurance based on consumers' needs, so why is my sales record so poor? This is due to product discrimination. We have to sell mainly investment-linked insurance products. To sell 10 of these is equivalent to 60 products I have sold. Thus a fresh graduate like me who can't afford to pay the $3,000 bond faces a real dilemma.
Therefore, consumers should understand the immense pressure we are facing. Most of the time, we are trained to promote that particular product and try to think of ways it benefits consumers. Welcome to the real commercial world. Geraldine Teng (Ms)