Incentives and conflicts of interest in financial services firms

) was created to examine the misbehaviour of financial services entities and their agents. In its Final Report, the Commission wrote that:In almost every case, the conduct in issue was driven not only by the relevant entity’s pursuit of profit but also by individuals’ pursuit of gain, whether in the form of remuneration for the individual or profit for the individual’s business. Providing a service to customers was relegated to second place. Sales became all important. Those who dealt with customers became sellers. And the confusion of roles extended well beyond front line service staff. Advisers became sellers and sellers became advisersIn this assignment you are to:1.Discuss how the incentive structure in financial services firms can lead sales to become “all important”, with customers “relegated to second place”.2.Examine what evidence there is that conflicts of interest created by incentive structures can influence financial advisers and lead to poor outcomes for customers.Discuss theoretical issues and empirical evidence. Set out a logical argument and draw on relevant evidence when making assertions.Use appropriate referencing where an idea has been drawn from a scholarly source (scholarly journal articles, working papers, research books and other scholarly publications). Referencing should be complete, comprehensive and consistent. Suggested ReadingYou are expected to do some independent research in writing this paper. This research should inform your discussion of the relevant issues and provide empirical evidence of what is happening ‘in the real world’.Factiva and Business Source Premier will help you find articles in the press.You should search in reputable sources such as the Economist Magazine, Australian Financial Review and the Wall Street Journal etc. You should avoid articles from sources such as the Daily Telegraph. Industry and government reports should also prove useful in writing this paper.Extend your search to academic articles. Google Scholar is a useful source of academic references. You should also use Econlit publication database depository.Industry and government reports could also prove useful.The following reading provides a start:An introduction to the behaviour of financial advisers is in Chapter 3 of the first volume of the Final Report of the Royal Commission In a report to the Royal Commission, Cornell University Professor Sunitah Sah answered four questions on conflicts of interest in advice. Her answer to the first question provides a short overview of the evidence and points to the major references in the area. StructureThe essay should include:A short summary or abstract (not exceeding 150 words)A bibliography and a list of data or other sources at the end.Footnotes should be avoided. If figures and/or tables are used, they should be placed in the body of the essay.

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