Mercenary sales practices used by bank staff have been uncovered in an internal document leaked by a Barclays sales manager.
Customers are viewed as 'conquests', with advisers incentivised to sell riskier investments, or more expensive, profitable products, the confidential document leaked to the Daily Mail shows.
Persuading a customer to invest their savings in the stock market is 100 times more lucrative for salesmen than advising them to cautiously put their money in a savings account, the document reveals.
A salesman will earn 18p for each £1,000 put into a cash ISA, but £18.20 for each £1,000 invested in the stock market. Those who persuade a customer to sign up to Barclays Private Banking investment service earn £49.
The whistleblower, who manages a large sales team at Barclays, says: "It's a very high-pressure environment.
"Some of the things we sell - such as structured products - are rubbish. It's an easy sell as they offer elements of protection. But we are now being discouraged from selling so much because we want to be seen to be giving proper advice."
The bank is believed to be under investigation by the City watchdog for persuading thousands of elderly customers to switch their savings into risky funds.
Barclays says its processes adhere to banking regulations.
In a statement to the Daily Mail it said: "Staff rewards are reflective of the complexity of the product and the time invested to fully address the customer's needs.
"'Conquest' is a long-standing generic term for new business. We don't use it in relation to individual customers."
Salesmen earn points towards bonus targets for their team. Barclays calls the points earned on a product its 'real retail Conquest Value'.
Typically, the riskier the product, the higher the 'conquest value' and the more lucrative it is for the salesman.
The number of points earned from every £100,000 invested via Barclays Financial Planning has jumped by more than a third - from 2,700 last year to 3,750. Meanwhile, a Barclays loan earns 5,000 points.
The whistleblower says: "The pressure can be unbearable. We are set unrealistic targets. They were increased in January and our rewards were reduced. This money comes out of customers' pockets one way or another - either directly, or through charges built into the product."
Experts say the document makes a mockery of the FSA's decision to allow bank salesmen to escape the commission ban on IFAs, to be implemented as part of the RDR by 31 December 2012.
Other High Street banks offer similar incentive schemes which reward salesmen for churning as many investments as possible.
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