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10/24/2008

Selling ice cream!!!

Not everyone is a super talent. Not everyone can perform multi tasking effectively. Not everyone can wear 10 or 20 hats and still get the jobs done competently. And not everyone has the privilege of holding multi jobs and can get away with doing very little, or doing nothing, and still being paid handsomely. As each profession or job gets more complex, it will require higher level of knowledge and skills and attention to details. And if several professional jobs or trades, perform by different professionals, are lumped together and expecting people of diverse professional background to be able to execute them efficiently, what we are going to have is superficiality. It also insults the complexities of the nature of the jobs and the professions. The financial industry has undergone this phase of transition when insurance agents and stockbroking agents were ‘encouraged’ to cross train, to allow insurance agents to sell financial products and stockbroking agents to sell insurance products. What a silly idea. But it was done. So what can be expected? Each profession is governed by a series of stringent rules and regulations, laws and technical expertise that demand professional devotion. But some jokers thought that both professions were like car or ice cream salesmen, and a little training will do the job. So what we have eventually is the blurring of roles and the blurring of products. And there are many such products to complicate matters. And these inadequately trained people were out there trying to sell additional things which they are not familiar with. And they called them Financial Advisers, I think. And I think some of these financial advisers are now involved in the minibond fiasco. They are presumed to have the professional knowledge to sell financial products but now found inadequate. Some are going to be screwed till their anus burst for failing to exercise professional due diligence. Ignorance or inadequacy will not be an excuse. Financial products and instruments, derivatives etc are complicated stuff and cannot be administered superficially. There are many technical, financial and legal terms and conditions governing such products and these are not easy to understand. It is not like selling cars or ice cream. I have even been approached by bank tellers to buy such ‘ice cream’. Selling such products is not a once off the shelf, its over. They are dynamic products that require constant monitoring and attention. And the consequences for misreading, misjudging and mis selling can be very serious.

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