Which? response to FCA sales incentives review

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“It’s encouraging that banks have started to make changes to their sales incentive schemes but we agree with the regulator there is still much work to be done to reform the culture across the industry.

“We want to see the FCA and the new professional banking standards body help to bring about a big change in banking, so that customers – not sales – come first. We expect strong action to be taken against any firms or individuals found breaching the rules.”


In 2012, Which? carried out research of bank staff who have a sales role and have sales targets and found:

  • Almost half (46%) know colleagues who have mis-sold products in order to meet their targets
  • Four in 10 (40%) say targets drive employees to sell when it’s not appropriate

Of those who have a sales role (not all have sales targets):

  • Two thirds (64%) say they are always or sometimes told to sell more.
  • The most common reasons for being told to sell more were to hit targets (26%) and increase profits (16%); only 6% said it was because it was in the customer’s interest.
  • Nearly half (45%) sometimes feel they’re expected to sell regardless of whether it’s appropriate or not.
  • Four in 10 (38%) with targets have ‘power hours’ where they have to make a certain number of sales within a designated period of time.
  • Over a third (37%) are not comfortable with the level of pressure to sell in their role.

[ComRes interviewed 551 front line bank staff who have daily interactions with customers, by telephone between 22ndOctober and 4th December 2012. 371 respondents have a sales role, and of those 298 have sales targets. Respondents were selected from HSBC, RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Barclays.]