Letshego Financial services Botswana top management is being accused of siphoning off millions of Pula from its independent sales agents following the implementation of a new questionable paying structure.
The financial service institution has more than 300 direct sales agents across the country.
The disgruntled direct sales agents are said to be left with no choice but to embark on a go slow. Some of them have decided to do business with a broker known by this publication which has also been contracted by Letshego (Pty) Ltd to offer the same services offered by the broker directly.
An insider from Letshego said the changes came into effect recently under the leadership of one Shallot Mathula. The insider said there was no proper consultation until the sales agents threatened to take up the matter with members of parliament as a way of expressing their grievances and disappointment at their contractual parties.
An insider said getting a commission of more than P18, 000 per month is no longer a budgeted monthly guarantee as the new structure has left most of them earning a mere P7, 000 or zero commission.
The insider said the idea came after some senior management were of the view that sales agents were getting more money as compared to permanent staff members and even senior officers because of the large amount of money from commissions accrued from volumes of loans.
The insider said most of the agents targets P300 000 as volume of loans from 10 to 15 clients which makes individual agents to be earn about P23, 000 per monthly.
But with the new structure the sales agents will have to sweat more and more to earn P6 000 per a month from 10 to 15 clients and earn nothing (zero) when they have secured less than four clients.
Responding to a Sunday standard questionnaire, Chief Executive Officer of Letshego Botswana, Fergus Ferguson said its true direct sale agents’ can earn more than staff members but dismissed reports that the new structure was intended to reduce their monthly commission as a way of ensuring that it is not more than that of staff members.
Asked if she is aware that the new structure has disadvantaged the sales agents, Ferguson was quick to dismiss that arguing that it was meant to balance the needs of sales agents, staff members and stakeholders.
“The revised compensation structure ensures that the Direct Sales Agents model remains a sustainable sales channel, creating a sustainable business model which balances the needs of all stakeholders concerned, including Letshego, our customers and DSAs. Our Direct Sales Agents commission structure is an incentive-based model, where potential revenue is determined by individual monthly sales outputs. The more a DSA sells, the more commission they can earn,” said Ferguson.
But the disgruntled sales agents believe that the new structure is a “punishment” aimed at making their lives a living hell.
“Why are we subjected to a non-commission when we have less than four clients per loan”, asked one of the direct sales agents.
He added that “Investors are not aware that we are suffering this much when top officials are getting millions of Pula. We make sure that the company makes profits as evidenced by company financial results but get peanuts.”
Ferguson has defended Letshego arguing that consultation is still ongoing with direct sales agents across the country as evidenced by last week’s workshops which were conducted in Francistown and Maun especially in relation to revised compensation plan for the year 2018.
“Letshego’s last commission review was conducted in 2016. Following several recent engagements between the Direct Sales Agents (DSAs) and Letshego Management, Letshego welcomed compensation proposals from DSAs, which were reviewed and evaluated by Letshego’s Country Management Committee in the interest of all stakeholders concerned.,” said Ferguson.
She added that “Consultations have been concluded, with Letshego agreeing to adjust its final commission payment agreement to include select, relevant suggestions proposed by our DSA. In the interest of fostering effective partnerships, Letshego appreciates and encourages the proactive feedback from Direct Sales Agents, remaining committed to fostering ongoing dialogue with DSAs to sustain the current mutually beneficial business partnership.”
Another insider said it is a common practice for people on commission to earn more than staff members because of the nature of the business.