Whistleblower: Chloe Mele was asked to call herself Sarah and vaguely indicate where the personal information came from
A whistleblower has revealed that renegade partners at wealth manager St James’s Place have employed student workers in a cold-calling operation to lure wealthy clients. Chloe Mele, who reported to The Mail on Sunday about her time as a cold collar, was among the people who were fined 10 per cent for trying to entice wealthy individuals to invest. was busy for hours.
The deployment of the telemarketing company that has moved out of the living room in Guildford violates SJP’s cold-calling ban and contrasts company projects with a high-class image.
Fair’s revelations will spark fresh controversy over the methods of the FTSE100 company, which was previously criticized for charging high fees and offering generous incentives to its sellers. SJP said some of its advisers have now been disciplined for using the telemarketing firm’s services.
Mellie took a job at Barnaby Beckett Referral in 2018 to fund her way through college. He along with a small group of others were asked by the University of Surrey to make unannounced calls to good lawyers to convince him to make an appointment with an SJP. Consultant – Violation of the ban on cold calls in the company.
Barnaby Beckett’s boss calls himself Jules, but sometimes calls himself Susan or Sarah on the phone. He told students the work was “secret” because SJP’s partners were not there to use his firm’s services.
Mele and other students were ordered to lie about where they got the lawyers’ contact details. The girls were told to call themselves Sara when on the phone. He was not given a contract, nor did he have taxes deducted from his salary. The amount is easily reflected in their bank account after a shift.
SJP alleges that it never had a relationship with Barnaby Beckett and that individual consultants from its partner firms may have used their services in violation of company rules.
Founded in 1991, SJP uses over 4,500 wealth managers to sell its funds. “Gifts” given to top consultants include white gold cufflinks and luxury vacations. The firm was blown up by pundits and lawmakers in 2019 when the extent of those rewards — funded with client money — was exposed by a previous whistleblower. The company was reprimanded for charging more than many of its competitors.
SJP says it has changed its practices to ensure the awards “reflect the value they offer to clients” and ensure they include “elements like professional development and training”. It also claims that independent research “shows that the total fees paid by St James Place customers for the services we offer are below the market average”. But the call center’s accusation raises new questions about its compliance and oversight of partner companies.
Mellie, who now works for financial magazine CityWire, was a sophomore at university when the offer hit her inbox, forwarded from the careers department. All he had to do was leave a voicemail to apply. Jules, she says, called her back the next day and said, ‘I like your voice, do you want to come to practice?’
“There was no interview, no resume. She told us she’s looking for beautiful voices—ones that sound good on the phone,” says Mellie. Jules, who ran a call center from her living room, was an enigma. “She told us she was an actress in her 20s and 30s,” says Mellie, “she’s 60 years old. Jules has never given a nickname or explained why she works for SJP.
Mele says, “I knew it was useless because we were using fake names and couldn’t tell people how we got their data. It was stressful, sometimes overwhelming, because of the pressure.’
She worked for Barnaby Beckett for a total of about eight months between 2018 and 2020.
It wasn’t until he started working for Citywire that he realized it was against SJP rules. And there is no record of Barnaby Beckett being recommended in Companies House, a register of UK companies. His website disappeared when Mele wrote about his experience for CityWire in April.
Blurred image: St James’s Place said some of its advisers were disciplined for using the telemarketing firm’s services
He still has a copy of the script he was asked to use. When asked what SJP’s advisors would do at the meeting, she was told that she would make sure “you get the best possible return on each of your investments.” When a lawyer asked where she got her data from, she was asked to answer: “Our partners deal with lawyers on a daily basis – maybe from a colleague of yours.”
She says she actually got a stack of papers with hundreds of numbers on each shift. He didn’t know where they had come from. In eight months he secured just 20 appointments and earned less than £200 in commission on top of his £10 an hour wage.
SJP said she was aware of the wrongdoing before it was exposed by Ms. However, the Barnaby Beckett website disappeared in April when the CityWire article was published.
A spokesman said: “We object to Barnaby Beckett’s methods and have taken steps to prevent her from dealing with our advisers. We never recorded or endorsed it. Some advisors who had unauthorized connections to Barnaby Beckett were disciplined after a detailed internal review. We have sought the termination of Barnaby Beckett’s engagement with our advisers and are deeply concerned that this has gone so far as to be hidden from the SJP.’
As of Sunday, the Mail could not reach anyone from Barnaby Beckett for comment.
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