Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Following on from Amway, I made a belated discovery that convinced me there is some justice in the world. I stumbled across a Which report from 2000 about a company called "City Financial Partners Limited". They tried to recruit me when I was a graduate, telling me how I could make huge amounts of money selling financial investments.

The first time I went there, there was a seminar more geared towards scaring away those who were unsuitable. On the second meeting, I had one-2-one with one of the Executives who spent most of the time showing me a brochure of the new Jaguar she was going to buy and telling me how she can afford to drive into town every day, park illegally and pay the parking ticket. It took her a while to demonstrate how I could actually make some money. What she showed me was astounding. I was expected to make up a list of my friends and relatives and sell financial investments to them, for commission only. Before I could start selling, there was to be a few of weeks of training during which we would get paid nothing. When I asked how as graduates we were supposed to survive, the Executive got angry and said: "why should we pay you when we are investing tens of thousands of pounds to train you". If people lose their temper when you ask sensible sensible questions, something is wrong, and there was also something rather strange about the fact that everyone in the organisation wore black suits.

As the Which Report makes clear, graduates were given inadequate training, and in their desperation to earn commission, missold investments. For every "City Financial Partners" who gets caught out, there are numerous other businesses eager to exploit those who have a cash flow problem. I can tell you lots of other stories, like my very brief summer job at "City Road Associates" in Camden Town who claimed to sell fax paper that didn't fade and trained the telesales staff to "f*** with their heads". University Graduates often go for jobs like lambs to the slaughter. Ever eager to make it in the world, they will sell themselves to the devil (or sell their grandmother some dodgy investments) in order to acheive their goals and pay off their student loans. My Father always warned me against taking on any commission only jobs but I didn't listen...I must be a glutton for punishment.