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Pushy Sales

>> Thursday, October 1, 2009

One year after the Minibonds saga that saw companies fined by MAS for the poor conduct of their Relationship Managers (RMs), they are back to recruiting and repeating history again. As shown by the complaint to the ST Forum below.

Simply imposing a fine does not solve the underlying problem. Products are still "strongly recommended" without understanding the needs of clients first. Most often, it is the people who are elderly or do not understand English well that give in to the sale tactics of these pushy sales people.

It is actually more advisable for them to keep their hard earned money in more secure deposits as they are already retired, instead of risking to lose their whole nest egg in some complex structured product they know next to nothing about.

I wonder if those sales people who sold the previous minibonds to retirees and lost their entire nest eggs are able to sleep at night?

Do not give in to pushy sales and purchase a product without understanding all the risk involved. In addition, consider if it is suitable for yourself or not. In doubt, you can consult a good independent financial adviser who is willing to help.

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Pushy sales even after Minibonds saga
ST Forum. Oct 1, 2009.

LAST Thursday, my father and I went to an OCBC branch in Hougang to open a fixed deposit (FD) account.

We communicated with the relationship manager in Mandarin as my 66- year-old father speaks very little English.

We told the relationship manager we wanted to open a joint FD. After verifying our details, he suggested we lock in our funds for two years to earn more interest.

He did not tell us the product he recommended was not an FD. I had to ask him whether he was talking about FD before he admitted he was not. He said the interest payout was guaranteed and the capital was also guaranteed.

I said we had not heard about this product before, but he assured us this product had been around for a long time. We told him we still wanted to open an FD.

He acknowledged our request and I felt relieved he was finally going to process our FD. However, he was not done and instead printed out an illustration of the two-year lock-in product in English.

My father could not read the plan so I took a closer look and saw the words 'sum assured' and 'overseas assurance company'. It was clear the relationship manager was trying to foist some kind of insurance plan on us.

I had to flip the plan face down and tell him again that we wanted an FD before he gave in.

This episode suggests the measures put in place following the Minibonds saga are insufficient.

I hope the authorities will lay down stricter rules to enable everyone to open FD accounts in peace, rather than allow unwanted or unsuitable products to be peddled to us persistently.

Tan Gim Cheong
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