Sales Abuse? First Negative Vibe from WealthSimple.
I’ve felt a touch icky about my conversation with Basil D’Souza, CFA, Senior Wealth Advisor at WealthSimple, ever since it happened early yesterday.
I enjoy WealthSimple for the freedom to dabble with a small amount of mad money. I ignored prompts to get in touch from Julie, a Portfolio Manager at WealthSimple, until she mentioned an opportunity that might suite my style.
At 7 am yesterday Basil, “the boss”, called. Julie had apparently left WealthSimple and he was taking the appointment for her.
I was pre-coffee, and I had been expecting a friendly call. He asked open-ended questions and I chatted away like a fool, explaining how much I liked WealthSimple for the ability to learn about managing a portfolio for myself, and how I was rebelling, in a small way, in my senior years. Dabbling in crypto. Taking a direct role.
In retrospect, I think he was biding his time until he got the key information he wanted about my other investments.
Then he pounced. He told me I should hand over everything I owned to him to manage ’cause I was ignorant.
The likelihood of me doing this collapsed to zero at once. For one thing, I do know what he was talking about but I’d already explained the points I thought were salient. It was as if he hadn’t taken in anything important I’d said.
I doubt he cared, of course. I’m not well off enough to be worth the attention of a Senior Wealth Advisor. Just your average middle class almost-retired person.
Uncharitably, I wondered if Julie’s departure had anything to do with her boss.
But giving him the benefit of the doubt, and presuming he just wanted to help the silly old lady his underling’s departure had stuck him with, I still felt “off”.
It continued to bother me all day, on and off.
Until I figured it out.
I was mad at myself.
I’d allowed my good feelings about WealthSimple, the product, to leave me vulnerable to a sales pitch from a guy in the auto-pilot investments department who was not even the original stranger who had first exchanged emails with me — and cheerfully chatted away like I was explaining myself to a friend.
Asking a few leading questions isn’t even a particularly complex trick. ELIZA (1), the original conversational program from the 1960s could fool people that way.
Guess I need to find more real friends.
(1) ELIZA. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA retrieved April 2022.