Toggle menu
Subscribe to our blog & events
Group 4Created with Sketch.
4 0
3 0
2 0
1 0

We need a commission ban, now!

von Stefan Heringer

The emerging government coalition of Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Liberal Party seems to plan promoting fee-based financial advice more strongly and has even considered abolishing commissions altogether in certain areas of financial sales.

The fact that the financial industry perceives this move as a "risk" is evident from enormous activity among financial lobbyists. Suddenly, every day, advocates for the existing commission system are passionately defending its alleged benefits. The level of nervousness is escalating, and excitement is at an all-time high.

Is fee-based consulting anti-social?

The President of the Sparkassen Association delivered a startling statement, labeling fee-based consulting as antisocial. He warns of further societal fragmentation and views the existing sales apparatus as a contribution to social harmony in Germany. This stance is remarkable, coming from an industry notorious for its ruthlessness and disregard for the public good since the Lehman debacle at the very least. Evidence abounds in the countless scandals involving major banks, Sparkassen, state banks, and Volksbanken, not to mention thousands of documented instances of misleading "advice" and consumer fraud. The fact that so-called independent financial advisors often fare even worse does not mitigate the issue.

We will refrain from drawing any parallels between such statements and the imminent legalization of cannabis. (ggf. Streichen, für außerdeutschen Kontext nicht verständlich)

Ban commission sales, don't just document them

A decade ago, my partner Nikolaus Braun frequently attended so-called “consumer protection meetings” at the Bavarian Ministry of Justice, where he encountered a swarm of lobbyists from the insurance and banking sectors. Unsurprisingly, nothing changed. The insanity of commission sales was merely muddied with complex advisory protocols. The result: The financial industry was handed a tool that makes it easier to ward off inconvenient consumer complaints.

Based on these experiences, a simple piece of advice to politicians: commissions in financial sales are undeniably toxic (link). Seize this opportunity. Ignore the industry's seductive cries. Don't be swayed by self-serving appeals, transparent in their lack of substance and self-interest. Instead:


To borrow the words of the Viennese poet Eduard von Bauernfeld in 1871:

"A muddy pond is drained,
the frogs croak and complain;
But he who cherishes projects of improvement,
Who will ask the frogs?"

Stefan Heringer
Forty-Nine Fee-Only Advisors

PS: Please feel free to send any questions, criticism or comments to

Three of our favourite blog posts:


Please send me new blog entries and invitations as a newsletter (currently only in German)

Thank you. Please check your inbox for the email with the confirmation link. Also check your spam folder if necessary.