And When Did You Last See Your Father?

W. Yeames...
W. Yeames…

Those of a certain age will be familiar with the picture above. This nineteenth century painting by Yeames shows an imagined scene from the aftermath of the English Civil Wars of the seventeenth century.
His house captured by the Parliament forces (Right but Repulsive) the son of a king’s man, a Cavalier (Wrong but Wromantic) is questioned as to the whereabouts of his father in the presence of the sobbing females of the family.

This image came to mind today in receipt of one of those ‘know your customer’ forms from a brokerage firm. As they are about to be taken over I imagine that this is because the new owners want to have spotlessly clean noses in the eyes of what are laughingly known as financial regulators – the whitewash merchants of the house of cards that masquerade as financial institutions.

Leo hasn’t dealt through these brokers for some time and was quite surprised to find that his remaining holdings there had any value at all, but there was enough to make it worth cashing in so that was what he decided to do.

Except that he could not.
Not until he had filled out and returned the form together with proof of his identity.
It might be his money, but he couldn’t have it.

So, moaning at the expense of having to have his passport certified, he started to look at the form itself.
Which is where ‘And when did you last see your father?’ comes in.

After questions as to one’s name and address, and for some mad reason telephone numbers….for goodness’ sake, when do brokers ever ‘phone their clients…the form got into its stride.

Occupation….where the line for ‘Other’ proved tempting.
Lion tamer? Saggar maker’s bottom knocker? Arslikhan yoga specialist?

If you were retired, what was the name of your previous employer – and probably when did you last see him….
And what, were you to be one of the few not employed on a zero hours contract, was your gross annual income…..
Why they should think that income is derived exclusively from employment is beyond me…..the lack of correlation between politicians’ salaries and their actual income being a case in point.

The form is eating up the miles now…

What, it seeks to know, is the intended purpose of the account.
They are brokers…what do they think that their clients want to do!
They want to buy and sell traded stock, not to use the expertise of the firm to set up a whelk stall – as clearly they would be incompetent to do so, nor arrange a piss up in a brewery – ditto.

It then turns to what it laughingly calls your ‘wealth’.
It wants to know how much you have, which in Leo’s view is for him to know and for others to refrain from finding out.
It also wants to know how many years and months it took you to fill up your piggy bank…and where.
Leo is not minded to turn the pig upside down to check the origin of the coins within and the level of its Plimsoll Line is no business of his broker.

The form gets heavy.
It wants to know how much of the contents of your piggy bank comes from employment….and who employed you…and for how long…
Up a gum tree there…Leo classes himself as unemployable by reason of sanity.

Have you made any pennies from trading activities?
White slaving? Fitting out an East Indiaman?
No…..they mean the stock market, though this is nowhere clearly stated.
What types of investments have been traded?
Well, there were rubber plantation stocks when there were still rubber plantations…
Average size of investments?
Whatever cash was going spare in the back pocket.
Describe the expertise that enables you to profit from such activity.
Doing the opposite of anything recommended by The Financial Times.

The form is breathing heavily by now…
Has any of your wealth been derived from inheritance?
Chance would be a fine thing….
And if so how did the deceased get his claws on it?
Unfortunately no one had thought to interrogate the grandfather on the source of his wealth, probably fearing a sharp retort and clip round the ear for impudence.

Has any of your wealth derived from selling assets?
A list of properties bought and sold over the years would require a mini Domesday Book and if anyone thinks Leo can remember at this date all the buying and selling prices then they are in for a severe disappointment.

The most tempting section is the last…has any of your wealth been derived from a different source to those listed previously?
This is where all the drug dealers, bankers specialising in derivatives and other criminals must be breathing a sigh of relief.
At last they can unburden their souls…at last they can declare all!

So I imagine that that part of the form will remain forever blank.

The wide range of the questions is in itself questionable. The firm may be concerned for the origin of the monies supporting the trading activities of its clients…but has no business putting its snout into the totality of its clients’ affairs.
But if the client wishes to extract his money, the form must be filled out.

Under Common Law, in the period from the Middle Ages until the eighteenth century, the law took a dim view of those who refused to plead either guilty or not guilty and would have them carted off to a cell where they would be stretched out on the floor and have heavy stones placed upon their chests until they either decided to plead or died.
It was known, and aptly so, as the ‘peine forte et dure’….but there were those who preferred to die in this way to avoid being found guilty and having their estates confiscated, which would have left their families destitute.

This form is another demand that you should plead…but as yet the penalty for not so doing is financial rather than physical. You lose your dosh.
But give the regulators a few more years and I wouldn’t mind betting that they’ll be putting out contracts for heavy stones…

43 thoughts on “And When Did You Last See Your Father?”

  1. Unbelievable. I can hear your frustration and imagine Leo’s! It’s part of the reason I keep my dosh under the mattress….

  2. This is utterly ridiculous. If any or all of this is literally true why would anyone in future deal with these or any other brokers?

    Yes, Annie, keep it under the mattress. I must say I haven’t had any problems realising cash before now. Mind you, I don’t know if the people with whom we deal are brokers or financial advisers. I am too stupid to know much about this sort of thing.

  3. All this talk of doshes makes me uncomfortable and I don’t even know what a dosh is. I don’t think we have doshes over here but I’ll look again. I’m only surprised there is no box that one can check which authorizes the release of all that information previously collected by the NSA.

    1. Dosh is money in all its forms… thanks to the Fed you probably don’t, but the banks do.
      They must have overlooked that box…but they made up for it on their internet contact form…you fill out your name rank and number and then they reject your submission for not giving a verification code which appears nowhere on the page…

    1. I thought so too ….and as you had one as well perhaps Friko will now accept that I did indeed receive one such as described and am not wasting my time inventing something to run chills down the spine of the comfortably off middle class.

  4. Just to add to your Liverpool education Helen, that painting lives here. On the main stairway of the Walker Art Gallery. (Though I realise this knowledge won’t help in any way to allay your frustration).

  5. I do remember being asked, ( by a financial adviser we were considering using) how much we spent on pet food a month…… we decided to get our advice elsewhere. This is crazy, completely crazy.

    1. Nuts, isn’t it…though I gather that those seeking mortgages in the future in the U.K. will be asked about their pet food spend…among other impertinent questions.

      I can remember in the distant past having a building society bod tell me that they wouldn’t give me a mortgage because, being a woman, I would inevitably become pregnant and be unable to pay.
      Now it’s a sack of Winalot…

  6. This is unbelievable! How can they get away with asking these questions? Did they require you to answer them, or could you leave them blank? Surely there must be privacy regulations that would forbid them from requiring you to answer.

    1. Looks like a fishing expedition to me…find out what you’ve got in order for the new firm to know how best to target you….
      We have told them what we see fit for them to know…..the problem is that they are sitting on the money and if they don’t accept the form you can’t get your hands on it unless you go to court to make them cough up…you can forget going to an ombudsman, their offices are staffed by other financial badhats covering up for crooked and incompetent firms.
      Just like the Law Society….

  7. Do they have some means of checking the responses? Could be interesting to give them some mythical information and see what happens. It seems to be getting worse everywhere you have to deal with banks or other financial institutions. I guess it’s all based on their first-hand knowledge and experience of criminal financial dealings. Here, if my husband goes to the bank without me, he can no longer pay money into my account without my written permission and production of my passport. Instead he pays it into his account and then immediately transfers it from there to me – no questions asked. We are talking about small sums here, around the 100-200 euros mark, not millions. And a friend who banks offshore can no longer access his money at all! The new bank manager says “No” and that, for the time being, is that. Definitely indicates the mattress is the best place. Even if isn’t worth anything, you can still get your hands on it when you want to.

    1. It makes me glad that we moved our money here when we did!

      The last time we moved a lump sum – about £6,000 – the bank wanted to know its source…luckily I had kept by me a file of sale documents for French properties and produced one of those. The manager knew it was a farce, we knew it was a farce…but it ticked the boxes!

      I’m sure you are right about their first hand knowledge of criminal dealings…these banks get caught time and time again for money laundering and get a piddling fine…no one goes to gaol and they all get £200 pounds on passing Go.

      Friends in France are telling me that their banks refuse to accept payments into their account in the folding stuff…if they think that that is going to close down the black market they’ve got another think coming!

      Time to buy shares in a mattress making firm…

  8. There is a lucrative side business in selling such info to advertisers for targeted marketing. Either that, or they’re interviewing to see who would be a good subject for a reality TV show.

    1. I did wonder whether or not it was a fishing expedition…if so the responses given will qualify us for firms selling peanut dispensers…

      I’d love to see anyone rash enough to put Leo on a reality TV show….

  9. Hello Helen,

    Well, this form filling all seems like a perfectly ordinary day here in the Motherland. This, we would suggest, is the land of paper.

    You see you only mention here one form. That is a complete giveaway. Here there would be three copies at least and, preferably, in three different colours, all of which must be signed with a blue pen. When did you last see your father would be buried under the barrage of what did you have for breakfast, what was your mother’s mother’s mother’s maiden name and do you know the constituents of Gulyas Soup. Really, administration has gone totally wild here and, yet, there us more corruption, tax evasion and general money laundering than ever before.

    Yes, the mattress is the place for one’s Euros, Dollars, Pounds or Forints these days!

    1. I shall sit back and count my blessings in that case!
      Costa Rica is relatively form free……

      I too note the correlation of more forms, restrictions and interference in the lives of ordinary people with the rise of corruption, tax evasion and general money laundering.

      My dream would be to be put in charge of Barclays….with a horsewhip.

  10. Good or bad, I thought one of the jobs of brokers was to help clients keep their money, and how they acquired it, more or less secret. These folks sound like they’re an arm of the government.

    After you get your money from these clowns I would mail them an addendum that simply consists of a tracing of your hand, with the middle finger extended, followed by “Sincerely.”

    1. It’s a strange affair….because financial institutions are crooked, government set up regulators to control their activities….but these regulators seem to turn their attention to the activities of the clients, on the pretext of countering money laundering…which goes on under their noses in the major international and national banks.
      When a chap who was running a major bank’s affairs in Mexico at a time when said bank was laundering drug money on the grand scale becomes a government minister in the U.K. you do begin to wonder who is running the show.

      I do like the tracing…

  11. Wait till they set the dogs on you. I was at Heathrow a few years back and a charming Spaniel took a fancy to my handbag. I then had to answer questions as to why I was carrying cash.

    1. That’s something that does bother me….I’ve always preferred to use cash rather than a card and usually carry a decent float in cash with me when traveling back to Europe, but carrying cash – something common to my generation – now seems to be a subversive activity.
      How they imagine I can overthrow society as we know it given the amount I carry I do not know…perhaps I can ask them when they detain me at the airport.

  12. I wrote a long comment which WordPress refused to post as I was apparently “posting too quickly”, whatever that means. I’m trying again on a different search engine.

  13. It sounded more like a tax form than a paying out form! Talk about nosey buggers! They’ll be asking for your blood type soon so they can bleed you dry.

  14. Good lord, enough to make me put my savings into gold bars. I think in real life though I just wouldn’t fill the thing in and might complain to the financial ombudsman.

    1. Waste of time….whitewash merchants.
      You have to go through the full nonsense with the firm with whom you have problems before they will act.
      By which time it is quite possible that the crash will come and the couple of grand we are trying to extract will be worthless.
      Look at the carnage they are wreaking on the people the RSB led up the garden path.

      1. I did get a (real, albeit photocopied) letter from the treasury saying they believed I was in line for a £5000 payout from Equitable life because I was missold mortgage protectiion insurance- and this payout would arrive in March 2014. It hasn’t though! I didn’t really agree with the letter when I got it, since I have not got a mortgage but I used to have one in the days I was with Equitable, so perhaps I should chase it up.( If it had been an email I wouldn’t bother.) So thanks for reminding me – I will let you know what they say! .

        1. Fingers crossed for you!
          Leo had a letter from the crooks holding his annuity to say that they wanted to pay him about £500 which had mysteriously turned up in their accounts…two months later…zilch…

  15. Gosh, this all sounds positively Kafkaesque, Helen, with incomprehensible bureaucracy taking over the world as we know it. Makes me glad we got our fingers burned when taking out some (thankfully small) unit trusts right at the height of the stock market (on the advice of a so-called financial adviser) which then proceeded to drop like a stone in value until we finally off-loaded them. Since then we’ve stuck to banks and property to look after out hard-earned shekels. Good luck with extracting your own cash from the wolves’ grasp.

    1. It has always infuriated me that one is obliged to take out an annuity…which will cost a bomb in fees and be totally mishandled!
      We have received a round robin apology from the CEO of the firm concerned…such was the fury of those contacted…but that someone could think of this in the first place is beyond me….and no access to our dosh so far….

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