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Financial Security Advisor a Lark by any other name.

To see what I could learn on many issues I recently attended a few (3) personal interviews and a public recruitment seminar at a popular financial institution. I met with the office manager and 2 regional training managers on different occassions.

They offer mortgages, insurance, bank accounts and those mutual funds. They are looking for new recruits to train as Financial Security Advisors.

Know I should mention that I did try to go into this situation with an open mind. Over almost 2 decades I have dealt with financial advisors, including a manager over 3 BMO Nesbitt Burns offices. They all offered poor advise and couldn't see beyond their Morningstar charts and their incentive, bonus targets. The manager even told me to sell a stock I had without asking my ACB or what the dividend rate was that it provided to me, or whether I would have a capital gain or loss.

The floggers as I like to call them, in this case were Freedom 55 which is a division of London Life, under the umbrella of Power Financial Corp., which also owns Investors Group, Mackenzie Financial, Great West Life....

They initially promoted an atmosphere of developing trust and integrity with their clients as their foundation for doing business with the public. But as the interviews progressed, today I was told that it was all a numbers game. Not suggested but told! Finally I was getting them to tell me what I practically knew but wanted them to say. Who was selling who here?

They had concerns that I did not have at least 300 potential contacts that I could secure business with. They said that they provide 200 clients/contracts and that a total of 500-700 was not near enough to make a living. Boy does "Client Service" scream out here? NO!

They said that a person needed to be able to sell things, such as, Whole life insurance to a client without knowing the detail differences between Whole & Term insurance. In otherwords, be able to flog something you know nothing about in order to get the client's money. Is that not great service and advising? NOT! That is skipping on the edge of theft in my mind. But the Financial Security Advisor has to do this or get no pay cheque.

They said that they are selling untouchable objects and sometimes a client will become angry and wish to no longer speak with the advisor when something goes wrong. They emphasized that it can be difficult because they are dealing with a 40 year financial plan. Since I accomplished most of this in less than 20 years, on my own, I ask what advise are they giving?

They do make sure they get their share 1st. Now everyone has to make a living but this tainted the financial investment world a little bit more today for me.

More like re-affirmed what I already knew.

At the seminar they had a newer advisor in her 3rd year as a presenter who said she had 1200 clients. She was working on getting a CFP (Cerified Financial Planner) Certificate or something like that. Does sales theft ring out here. She doesn't understand what she is selling to be able to give informed advise. They where so proud of her. She did not have a financial background prior to entering into this career. I commend her for her energy and enthusiasm but she is not selling advise or security IMO.

But today she bowed here head and did not aknowledge me when I was standing beside her for a few seconds as I was being lead to a room for today's interview. She recognized me. You see I had asked her a few questions after the seminar and we briefly exchanged a bit about our backgrounds and sucesses as they may relate to the financial field. I have no formal training in this field.

Starting in the 3rd month the advisor's salary is based on commissions. After 3 years, provided you make it that far, the accounts become vested. The accounts are the advisor's to keep, as advisors work as self-employed after the initial 9 week training period.

I always like to say, "If they make the majority of their income from their sales and not from their investing, then they are a sale person, maybe a sucessful seller of Financial Advisor but not a sucessful doer or knower of Sucessful Financial Advise."

If you can't do it, sell it!

Not all advisors are like this but my experience is that the majority are.

I have had similar experience with bank employees also, as in a lack of knowledge. Freedom 55 did not like the term 'pressure sales' when I used it. They looked at each other. I grabbed the 2 arm rests of the chair to steady myself and aid in hiding my laughter.

They had failed my interview. I shook their hands and left.

Have great day!

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