Shoe Shop Compliance

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 3:35PM 18 Comments

by Philip Macalister

Some (young rascal) sent me this....I had a good chuckle. Read on!

"I'd like to buy a pair of black leather shoes, please"

"Sir, if it were only that simple. Here's my card and here's your Buyer's Guide."

“What's this for”?

It tells you that I can only talk to you about shoes and allied products sold by this shop. I can't talk to you about shoes sold by any other shoe shop, nor can I give any advice on, say, sausages, for example.


Probably the best way to proceed is to show you where we fit into the footwear industry. We buy in most of our products from the Far East at a fairly modest price and sell them on to the public at a considerably higher price; but of course, out of the mark-up we have to pay for transportation, import duties, rent and rates, display, staff, sales staff, cleaners and administration, etc, and our shareholders have to be paid a dividend out of the remaining profits. Not many people think about this when they buy their shoes, but we think it's important. With this in mind, I'd like to ask you a few questions to make sure you get the shoes, or even boots, which are exactly right for you. It may be that when we have all the facts, I recommend that you do not buy my footwear at all. May I proceed?

“What do you want to know”?

“Well, how many arms and legs have you for a start”?

“What have arms got to do with shoes”?

“Well sir, if, for example, you only had one arm and I sold you a pair of shoes with laces, that could be construed as bad advice by LAUSTRO”.

“What is LAUSTRO”?

“The Laced and Unlaced Shoe Trade Regulatory Organisation.”

“What do they do”?

“Put the boot in. A friend of mine had to leave the industry.”

“What did he do wrong”?

“Sold a pair of carpet slippers”.

“What's wrong with that”?

“Turned out the guy didn't have carpet. So you see, I need to build a full picture for you. For example, do you need shoes for business or pleasure, or business and pleasure? How many shoes do you have already”?

“How many brogues, casuals, suedes, plimsoll's, slippers, sandals, Wellingtons, etc? How many suits? what colour are they? Do you have athlete's foot? Can you touch your toes? Any corns or bunions, or does your family have a history of dropped arches? What kind of socks do you wear?

How often do you cut your toenails? How much do you earn and what is your overall clothes budget? ? Well, thank you for that information. I'll give it some serious thought and- get back to you”.

Two weeks later?

“Ah, good morning sir. I've given serious thought and what you need is a pair of black leather shoes”.

“Isn't that what I asked for in the first place”?

“With respect sir, you have now had the benefit of my professional advice, based on all the relevant facts as given, and you now know with some certainty that what you need is a pair of black leather shoes. All the guesswork's been taken out of it. Here's your Reasons Why letter. I recommend that you buy these black leather shoes because they'll keep your feet dry, match your suits, look smart and you can afford them”.

“Well, I’m glad that's settled.”

“You want the shoes, then”?

“Yes, please.”

“Right, if you'd like to complete this application form, here's your illustration, which I'd like you to sign. It shows a complete breakdown of costs and profits and includes my commission”.

“Your Product Particulars describe in great detail how the shoes are made and the Key Features are a summary of the product's particulars, highlighting the risk factors.”

“Risk factors”?

“Yes. For example, if you Jive too long, the shoes may need repairing. On the other hand, if you die before you've had your wear out of them, I'm afraid there'll be no refund, even if they don't fit any other member of the family”

“I see”.

“So, just to recap. You've got my card; your Buyer's Guide; Product Particulars; Key Features; Illustration; Reasons Why letter. You will get a letter from my Head Office telling you that I do, in fact, work for this company and also a Cooling Off notice. You can return the shoes within 14 days and have a full refund if you don't like them for any reason.”

“How would you like to pay sir? “Cash”. Ah, well, would you mind nipping home for a copy of the gas bill or something to prove your identity, as you are not known to me. “

“One last thing sir, do any of your friends require shoes”?

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Comments from our readers

On 29 July 2011 at 7:35 am tim anderson said:
Awesome!!! That sums up the new legislation perfectly!
On 29 July 2011 at 9:16 am Simon said:
Brilliant Phil! Best laugh I've had in ages.
On 29 July 2011 at 11:00 am btw said:
Phil, I have to say that the failure to recognise the difference between buying shoes and receiving financial advice is one of the reasons the industry is in the state it is. Not only is there is nothing humorous about this in the context of people losing their life savings, it is ignorant and shameful to make the comparison.
If the industry keeps denying its client obligations its going to continue to fall into decline - and rightfully so.
On 29 July 2011 at 11:05 am Allistar Walker said:
'All I wanted was those black leather shoes. Next time I'll buy on the internet, and save myself a whole heap of questions and anxiety. I can do my own research if I need to.'
On 29 July 2011 at 11:10 am Mark said:
I believe I saw this script in a filmed version at a conference for Professional Investment Servcies Australian advisers, possibly as far back as 2003!

it certainly illustrates how regualtion can make things far more complicated than the customer requires.
On 29 July 2011 at 11:10 am rosco said:
spot on, a great summary of the issues!
On 29 July 2011 at 11:17 am Neville said:
Made my day Phil! Oh and an observation re btw and their comments. LIGHTEN UP!! The public must wonder at times about the process we now follow. Even though it is for their protection and security. BTW would be a hoot at a bbq?
On 29 July 2011 at 11:28 am Regan said:
That was great. I was still lol-ing while I read the comments and abruptly stopped at BTW's feedback.

To follow the comments though, the regulators were asleep at the wheel and the trustees and directors partying in the back while people's 'life savings' were being lost, and no compliance track imposed on advisers will do much to fix that.

Sheesh BTW, 'failure to recognize...." that's an insult to the intelligence of a few thousand advisers, many of whom could use a bit of light humour after the buildup and implementation of the new regs.
On 29 July 2011 at 11:43 am Gary Hemmings said:
Hope that btw has his tongue firmly stuck in their cheek otherwise we might need to sponsor a colonoscopy so they can find where their head is. Thanks for a lighter moment that contains a large element of reality check.
On 29 July 2011 at 12:25 pm Stewart Craig said:
I am not a shoe shop operator, can only assume the beauracrats have finally invaded your industry, as they did ours some years ago, and filled us with rules, policies, procedures, compliance, inspectors, forms, NZQA, costs and costs and costs, to do what we had been doing quite responsibly for decades
and now we are almost beaten into to bankruptcy. So now they turn their attention to shoe shops! And when their list runs out, they too will be looking for a job??? Not likely !
On 29 July 2011 at 12:29 pm Michael Donovan said:
I recall (when I joined the finacial advisory profession in the mid 1980's) that I should endeavour to retain some sense of humour.

btw comments....yes we all understand the seriousness of helping ensure that investors money does not get lost.

However, as I have endeavoured to clarify many times previously..."regulation' as such should not enforce any adviser/s to sit on their laurels thinking that it will be the big solution to the loss-factor regarding investors money..!
Isn't that what all the "regulation' hoo-ha is basically about?

"Regulation" itself could actually even end up as a form of culprit in fact because as I have previously stated, it has already been proven overseas that investors will most times accept often risky investments simply because they perceive that everything offered is safe ...because the adviser is "regulated..!"
Get the drift?

There appears to be a form of missing link continuing in all of this regulation stuff...and the shoe story tends to explain that in a marvellously numerous way.

The real culprits included in "loss of investors money" is not just the general state of world market cycles....that is easy.

The real culprit/s that 'regulation' should be targeting are those who most of you should know about, and be well aware of, and who I write about....being those who do such naughty and blatant things as 'transferring the investors wealth from their (investors) account to an account (or accounts) of related parties of the adviser/s???"

The "reason/s" for regulation need to be understood for it to be most "effective".

That is the "humourous' message provided in the shoe remain focussed on that is the key to it's most effectiveness.

The alternative is that the unscrupulous advisers (who eg transfer to "their own" related-parties) are still alive out there, and new faces will repeat their dastardly acts again if "regulation' is not used most 'effectively."

There it is again in my words...take it or leave it.

An obvious solution....
Get stuck into penalising those who have done the related-party deeds of recent past, and that would go a huge way toward stemming it in the future, by showing by example to those who may be "scheming as we speak.!.
All but one of the comments so far appeared to get part of the real message offered in the shoe story thank you Good Returns.

Have (professional) fun...but try and focus on the real reasoning and effectiveness of "regulation.

Michael Donovan
On 29 July 2011 at 12:50 pm Ernie said:
BTW...have a nice weekend
On 29 July 2011 at 6:00 pm pietro said:
Good on btw - we all like a laugh but he or she is spot on.

One can either sit outside the tent and bag the process of building trust like many of the comments here do or see the new regime as constructive and the way ahead
On 29 July 2011 at 9:37 pm alex said:
well done btw

wake up others
On 30 July 2011 at 2:40 pm Michael Donovan said:
Comon Alex,
to suggest that "others" wake up....bizarre?

I can certainly only answer for myself, and can confirm I am "very awake..!"

And as far as helping build the "trust' of my first and continued and proven best ways was to provide my name to prospective clients so they new who to decide who to try and trust?

So...Alex ????? and Pietro xxxxxx and Ernie zzzzz, do you and "B artholomue, T rinitisity W alason have any views yourselves on regulation and it's 'perceptions' to budding clients? And whether a proverbial "spank on the buttocks" in a public court against those who stole clients money via their own 'related-party-transactions' might just go a real long way as being an effective deterrent to those who may quietly being contemplating their own device that we can read about in the papers?

How long have you 3 for a start been in the profession, because it appears as if there may be an element who just don't get the drift of what some of the past problems were (and could still be?)and it would be good to read some views on whether the likes of myself are anywhere near the mark on at least part of it, rather than the 'comments' thingy becoming a 'blog' thingy??

I have to agree that there has been a need to help protect clients.

However, as previously pointed out, the largest "REGULATED" economy in the world is now the "poorest" (when related to debt currently well-publicised), and ALL of the finance companies in NZ were REGULATED by a thing called a prospectus, but the wording within some appears to have had some shortcomings and subsequently allowed loss of clients money....often-times by allowing "related party transactions?"

CR (Cracked-record) Michael Donovan signing off for now.
On 1 August 2011 at 11:05 am Peter Barker said:
This, virtually the same article, appeared in the UK 12 or so years ago when they went through the same process, so I hope he is not claiming this as an original piece of work. As for those anal among you, it is possible to see the humour of all this without intending to bag the new regulatory framework? Sometimes things are just funny and are intended as such.
On 2 August 2011 at 3:08 pm Forthright said:
The skill in producing a piece of fiction is one where no one can actually tell you where the original came from and no one can positively prove it is a lie. I am sure BTW has a life, has a hobby and does much for enjoyment and knows something ought to be done, but is just asking is this the right way to achieve it?
On 5 August 2011 at 12:11 pm Geoff said:
.... thanks for the article Phil. Having a sense of humor is good for your health.

Go the All Blacks.....
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