Financial Services Authority to regulate the sale of footwear


Established member
752 6
Fiancial Services Authority to regulate the sale of footwear.

I have it on good authority that the FSA is to regulate the sale of footwear. With this in mind, I have come across the following conversation which may now become commonplace. Anyone who has worked in the financial services industry will recognise what lies ahead.


“I’d like to buy a pair of black leather shoes please”

“Sir, if only it were that simple. Here’s my card and here’s your buyers 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 shop, nor can I give you advice on, say, sausages for instance”.

“I see”.

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

“What do you want to know?”

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

“What’ve arms and legs got to do with shoes?”

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


“The Feet and Shoes Authority”.

“What would they do?”

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

“What did he do wrong?”

“Sold a guy a pair of carpet slippers”.

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Turned out the guy hadn’t even got a carpet. It was part of the slipper mis-selling scandal. So you see, I need to build up a full picture of you. For example, do you need the shoes for business or pleasure, or business and pleasure? How many shoes have you got already? How many casuals, suede, loafers, plimsolls, sandals, Wellingtons etc. How many suits - what colour are they? Have you got athletes foot? Has anyone in your family ever suffered from athletes foot before the age of 65? Can you touch your toes? How often do you cut your toenails? How much do you earn and what’s your overall clothes budget? Do you have a dog? How far does he like to walk? Well thank you for that information. I’ll give it some serious thought, and after undertaking some thorough research on your behalf, I’d like you to come back in 2 weeks time”.

“Ah! Good morning sir. Now has anything changed in the last 2 weeks? You haven’t had a foot amputated, or the dog hasn’t died? Fine - what I recommend to meet your specific needs is a pair of black leather shoes”

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

“With respect sir, you have 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 require, are, in fact, a pair of black leather shoes. All the guesswork has been taken out of it. Here’s your “Reasons Why Letter”. I recommend you buy these black leather shoes because they keep your feet dry, match your suits, look smart and you can afford them”.

“Well I’m glad that’s settled”.

“You want these shoes then?”

“Yes please”.

“Right, if you’d like to complete this application form, and here’s your quotation which I’d like you to sign. It shows a complete breakdown of costs and profits and shows my commission at 24 pence. Your product particulars describe in great detail, and in plain English, how your shoes were made and the “Key Features” are a summary of the product particulars, highlighting the risk factors”.

“Risk factors?”

“Yes - for example, if you live too long the shoes may need repairing. On the other hand, if you die before you have had your wear out of them, I’m afraid there’ll be no refund, even if they don’t fit another member of your family”.

“I see”.

“So just to recap. You’ve got my card, your Buyers Guide, product particulars, Key Features, quotation and Reasons Why letter. Now sir, 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 still return the shoes within 14 days if you don’t like them for whatever reason. Now, how will you be paying for the shoes?”


“Ahh! Well in that case would you mind nipping home for a passport or driving licence, plus a gas or electricity bill proving your identity as you are not known to me. And one last thing sir. Will any of your family or friends be requiring shoes?”


Well-known member
470 5
You could have added:

"On the other hand I have a miraculour new scheme which I am selling and which is sure to beat the market all the time: it's called split capital trusts.."

To which the reply is: "Fine sir, we are not really interested in the customers, as long as you comply with our rule book that's OK.."

Of course I am sure there is a good reason for everything and I'm just being ignorant:)


Active member
185 1
What a load of old cobblers!! :LOL:

Jeez that brings back some bad memories!! I could start on a big rant about the FSA but I fear I may not live long enough to get to the end of it!!


88 0
I feel you have been mis-sold these shoes, it was not pointed out to you that shoes may go down as well as up in the process of walking. If I were you I would report this to the FSA




Established member
514 28
Hi Roger,

I bet you’ll be really pleased to know that the new CEO down at Canary Wharf plans to create some new posts at circa £300,000 a year to deal with the exactly the sort of problems you describe.

At least, that’s according to the Guardian who made the failings of FSA the main feature in the Jobs & Money section last Saturday – although that was by no means the first such article and I somehow doubt if it’ll be the last .

What’s more, I was amazed to learn that FSA employs more than 2000 people - or so Tony Herrington tells us and who featured on the same story in his slot in last Sunday’s Mail on Sunday.

Sounds to like a really nice little sinecure to me – I think I might dust off my CV! :)




Established member
752 6
Scripophilist - where financial services are concerned the salesman is guilty unless he can prove himself innocent, based on subsequent changes in the economic and regulatory environment rather than those in place at the time. The industry needed sorting, but this has now become so extreme that it is uneconomic to offer independent advice to anyone other than the rich. But hey! This is the lounge! Just wanted to take things to the logical next step! :D
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