TSB to switch staff to salaries

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The Independent Online
TSB is about to switch its life assurance sales force from commissions to salaries in response to the latest series of scandals in the personal finance industry, writes John Willcock.

Analysts see TSB's move as part of a drive by the high street banks to regain the moral high ground following Barclays Bank's humiliating censure by the Securities and Investments Board earlier this year over its sales force's approach to pension transfer schemes.

Barclays now pays its life sales force by salary rather than on a commission basis, as do many of the large insurance companies such as Norwich Union.

TSB is acting to pre-empt new disclosure rules that come into effect in the new year. In future insurance salespeople will have to tell clients how much commission they are receiving. The sales commission often forms a significant chunk of the first few years' payments on a life policy.

TSB recently merged its 900 life sales staff with hundreds more salespeople in its banking network.

When the bank reported its half-year profits in June it confirmed that it had made a significant provision against possible compensation payments for pension transfers. It refused to reveal the size of the provision but said it had no evidence of mis-selling.

TSB also wrote to 50,000 investors in transfer plans asking them to contact it if worried.