This is a step-by-step account of someone who was drawn into the financial services industry - despite initial scepticism - describing the sleight of hand and fraudulent promises used by a major company against its own prospective and actual sales staff. There are horrific stories of those inveigled into huge loans and second mortgages with no chances of repayment, and all cleverly pursued as part of the company's strategic policy. Ingenious psychological techniques are employed by this household name in the financial services field to ensure the entrapment of their sales associates, often leading to a ruinous debt situation and despair. The book reveals how basically decent and honest people, trusting in the overall integrity of the business process, are drawn into the industry, corrupted, and then made to act in a dishonest way - even if only unintentionally.
The editor's introduction interprets the company's rationale as due to the fraudulent aspect of the financial services themselves, arising from the introduction of unit-linked policies fluctuating in line with the value of the unit trusts in which premiums are invested, as contrasted with the safe conventional policies of an earlier era. Consequently, the selling of new-style policies became dependent on computer models of past performance having little relevance with the real world in demonstrating the future. This is a criticism which goes far beyond the well-publicised "mis-selling" of personal pension plans, PEPs and other policies. In view of the high-risk nature of the policies themselves, the personality of prospective sales people needed to be broken down and made malleable in "living with", let alone promoting, questionable practices, whoch came to be perceived as the common norm of truth. Hype and inflated promises were used as a mask to cover deceitful aspects of the industry.
The final chapter draws up proposals for safeguarding the unemployed - the main recruitment target of the industry and the most vulnerable sector of our population - and for reforming the financial services industry. The industry should be made into a profession with proper academic training, and the corrupting profit motive has to be removed if the public are to benefit from best advice.