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MAS Reveals Results of “Mystery” Shopping Survey

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has recently released the data results from the mystery shopping survey it has conducted that will be of great benefit to banks and insurers. Results of such surveys have been seen to help the said entities to improve financial advisory procedures for their customers.

MAS conducted the survey to find out from consumers the extent of how the financial industry has implemented the former’s fair dealing guidelines. The guidelines stipulate five outcomes, which include keeping customers informed of the proper sales process and making sure that they are not misled into purchasing a financial product that’s not right for them. Such guidelines should be observed by the board and senior management leaders when conducting business with customers.

The survey was conducted on a three-month period from October to December last year. The survey evaluated the third and fourth outcome of the fair dealing guidelines which pertain to the quality of advice provided and adequacy of information shared with the mystery shoppers respectively.

Representatives from MAS and FAIR (Financial Advisory Industry Review) panel were able to evaluate the institutions by qualitatively reviewing the suitability of the financial products that have been recommended to the consumers and whether such products match their profile and lifestyle.

Over 126 shoppers participated in the survey which involved 500 visits to 11 banks and 4 insurance providers. The shoppers went to the institutions to seek monetary advice from their agents.

Survey results show that the industry, in general, could use some improvement. Financial institutions which were rated inadequate are requested to take corrective actions and make policy changes within its management structure. MAS with be sending out copies of the results to the senior level officials of evaluated financial institutions.

The Association of Banks in Singapore and Life Insurance Association cooperated with the MAS for the administration of the survey.