Mis-selling: A significant Operational Risk

It refers to the ethically questionable practice of a salesperson misrepresenting or misleading an investor about the characteristics of a product or service. Mis-selling risks have escaped attention of many institutions due to focus on other initiatives such as Basel II requirements.

Five of the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) - UK principles of business are relevant in context of mis-selling
1. A firm must conduct its business with integrity
2. A firm must conduct its business with due skill, care and diligence
3. A firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly
4. A firm must pay due regard to the information needs its customers, and communicate information to them in a way that is clear, fair and not misleading
5. A firm must take reasonable care to ensure the suitability of its advice and discretionary decisions for any customer who is entitled to rely upon its judgment.

The FSA’s prescription of Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) and Conduct of Business (COB) can be used as best practices by companies to enhance customer trust and also safeguard against potential huge claims.

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