For me to try and tell you everything that I witnessed, experienced, and was told, is not impossible, it’s just beyond the understanding of anyone who has no experience in these matters. The business is meant to confuse, and is made more confusing with small print attached to policies that you would have to be a lawyer to understand. And although I worked in the financial services, I can tell you it is even confusing to me, but what is not confusing is the depth of corruption, and the carefully laid out plans to steal peoples hard earned money from them, and worse still is the protection afforded to these multi-billion pound organizations.
So, what I will try to do is condense everything into bite-size chunks, and see if I can explain it in layman’s terms.
This is not intended to be a lesson in the mechanics of the financial services, it’s meant to be the truth told in a way that everyone can understand and digest.
The first thing that happened was that I was sent for training to the company’s head office inExeter. This was to licence me to sell the small collectable policies such as my mother’s, which most people are familiar with. My job title was ‘Savings Advisor’ and my job was to knock on doors and introduce new clients to the company by selling them these small collectable policies. The basic wage was about £7,500 a year, and of course, the commission on what you sold which was £15 for every pound, with some variation depending on the length of policy term. The minimum amount you could purchase a policy for was £1.50. It was great, I worked on my own walking around knocking doors, and believe me I found it very, very easy, and averaged between £10 and £15 per day in sales, earning a staggering £150 to £225 per day, plus my basic pay, to say that I was over the moon is an understatement.
But what I didn’t know was that the other savings advisors were finding it hard to sell £10 in a week. This ability to sell led to a rapid promotion, and I was offered a job as an Investment Advisor in the Burnt Tree Office of London and Manchester in Wolverhampton, which also meant that instead of selling the small IB policies that are collected, I would now be trained and licensed to sell what are called OB policies: pensions, mortgages, bonds etc. But it also meant that I would not be working on my own, I would be working with the agents, and that not only did I get a commission from policies I sold I got ‘an override’, which meant every policy sold by anyone in the office, provide me a small commission. It was amazing and I was earning a bundle.
But, and this is a big but, this is where ‘the rot set in’, because this is where I met Area Manager Peter Hainsworth, a small tanned, dark haired young man, who was one of the top salesmen in the Company, and he was supposed to train me up, and guide me, and generally show me the ropes, this was an ‘eye-opener’!
Let me explain the situation; I was sent to Burnt Tree House inWolverhamptonas the office Investment Advisor, the position Peter Hainsworth had held before he was promoted to Area Manager of that same office.
He was jovial and motivated, and as I thought at that time, a very nice fellah. What a poor judge of character I was. Naïve doesn’t really seem an appropriate word to use given the past experiences of my life, but this was a whole new ball game to me, and I thought I had hit the jackpot, being completely legal, paying tax, insurance stamp, and working for a large and well known insurance Co. selling policies that the clients would benefit from in the later years of their lives.