Hong Kong banks could propose that the same staff continue to assess the risk profiles of customers and sell investment products if proper safeguards are in place, a source says. Last month the banking regulator said such duties should be carried out by different staff. A Hong Kong Association of Banks taskforce could also suggest that signage be used to differentiate between banks' investment sales business and ordinary banking business. The suggestions needed to be endorsed by an association committee before being proposed to the Monetary Authority, the source said. The authority asked banks last month to implement seven consumer-protection measures concerning the sales of investment products, and to draw up plans to separate their deposit-taking and retail securities business by next month. The measures are part of a range of proposals suggested in separate reports disclosed by the authority and the Securities and Futures Commission on last year's Lehman Brothers minibonds sales fiasco. Banks fear their wealth-management business could be badly hit if they are required to maintain a strict separation between their ordinary banking business and retail investment sales business. The banking industry taskforce suggested using counter signage for investment sales business to enable customers to identify this easily. The authority suggested in its report that the assessment of a customer's risk profile should be separated from the sales process and be carried out by non-sales staff, to provide further protection for investors. One banker said separating the assessment of customer profile and product sales was aimed at ensuring clients had a full understanding of services being offered. The same purpose could be achieved by the same staff if proper measures were in place, he said, adding that there would be audiorecording and other protection measures in place during the analysis of customer risk and the sales process.