A retail banker turned fee-only advisor is now detailing the pressure she faced to cross-sell -- regardless of client needs.
“When I was in the bank I was incentivised to sell (its products), that’s how my performance was evaluated,” Sandi Martin of Spring Personal Finance as a guest on the online Canadian Mortgage Hangout TV. “Even though I really wanted to serve the person across the desk from me as best I could and give them the best, unbiased advice… a little voice was telling me ‘but you’re going to have to tell your manager that you couldn’t sell them another Visa card or whatever.’”
Really, said the former mortgage specialist, the primary focus of that job is to ensure the client is sold as many products as possible, essentially a strategy that often forces advise to take a back seat to selling.
“The more depth you have in your client profile, the more money you can make off of them,” Martin said. “Once you have a mortgage and a transactional account, if you can add one more thing – like some kind of investment – the branch feels like it’s really got its client in position.”
This may come as no surprise to mortgage brokers and other independent advisors who started at the banks. The imposition of firewalls between retail bank and wealth management divisions springs from that kind of pressure to cross-sell.
Still the practice is alive and well at the local branch, especially round mortgages, suggests Martin, based in central Ontario.