Consultants from so-called all-finance sales companies act as fatherly friends who take care of the entire financial well-being of the individual and their family throughout their lives. From car insurance to building savings contracts to private pensions. “You don’t have to worry anymore,” suggests advertising from your employers, who are called DVAG, AWD (now Swiss Life Select), OVB or MLP. For free.

They appear serious, like to wear dark suits and plain ties and present themselves as neutral experts in investments and tax saving models. They promise to select the right one from the confusion of wealth and insurance products and to adapt it to every situation in life from now on.

Consultants at bancassurance firms are clever: they usually first solicit from family members, acquaintances and work colleagues and at the same time urge them to recommend their services. There’s a system to it: Who can refuse a friend a favor? You are not independent, but work for commission.

Even if they scroll through endless lists of offers on their laptop, they almost always end up selling what their sales company puts in front of them. The software guides you accurately to home products that may not be optimal for the customer. DVAG’s sales representatives primarily sell products from the Generali Group (Aachen-Münchener, Badenia, Advocard) and the Deutsche Bank fund company DWS. MLP belongs, among others, to the insurers HanseMerkur, Barmenia and Allianz. Swiss Life Select is firmly in the hands of the life insurance group Swiss Life.

Once a contract has been signed, there is often little left of paternal care: the financial advisors collect their commission and are then no longer responsible for the contractual relationship. We’re about to start hunting for customers again, because everyone works in structured sales: every salesperson in the pyramid-like organization can in turn recruit new sub-salespeople. He earns money from their contracts and can move up in the hierarchy.

Be it investments, insurance or pension provision, trusting everything to just one person sounds convenient. But it is dangerous. If the advisor is a good acquaintance or colleague, special care must be taken: personal proximity should inspire trust and a willingness to sign something quickly. In order not to conclude contracts that are too expensive or bad, you should not shy away from the effort of visiting a second advisor and having everything checked – ideally at a consumer advice center. A network of financial advisors who work on a fee basis