Martin Lee @ Sg
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Investigation Report on Structured Products Selling

Yesterday, MAS released their 99-page report on the selling of structured products by ten financial institutions.

It detailed the process by which each financial institution sold the products, a tabulation of the amount of compensation received by investors, as well as actions taken against the financial institutions.

Punishments include a ban of structured products selling for a period of 6 months to DBS Bank, ABN Amro, Maybank, DMG & Partners Securities and UOB Kay Hian; 1 year to CIMB-GK Securities, Kim Eng Securities, OCBC Securities and Phillip Securities; and 2 years to Hong Leong Finance.

This ban appears to be of limited significance as some of the financial institutions have already suspended their selling of structured products to retail investors anyway. Note this ban DOES NOT include the private banking units of DBS and ABN Amro Bank.

Among the compensation offered to investors, Hong Leong Finance gave the most. In fact, the amount of settlement that they offered exceeded the total of the 9 other financial institutions put together. Ironically, they were also the only financial institution that had the longest ban of 2 years imposed.

Reports can be downloaded below:

MAS Structured Products Investigation Report

Structured Products Compensation Table

MAS Acts Against 10 Financial Institutions (news report by Straits Times)

For those who are taking legal actions against the financial institutions, note the following paragraphs by MAS:

38) Although section 64 of the FAA provides that the failure of any FI to comply with the Guidelines issued under the FAA may be relied upon to establish liability against the FI in any criminal or civil proceedings, any such failure does not by itself render the FI liable for criminal sanctions or civil damages to an individual investor. Section 27 of the FAA also requires that, for an investor to make out a claim for damages where a recommendation was made without a reasonable basis, the investor must show reliance on the recommendation and that it is reasonable, having regard to the recommendation and all other relevant circumstances, for that investor to have purchased the Notes in reliance on the recommendation. Similarly, a claim in tort or contract for misrepresentation has to show reliance on the misrepresentations complained of. Whether an investor bringing an action against the FA can prove that there was such reliance, whether such reliance was reasonable, and to what extent, if any, the recommendation could be shown to have affected the investor’s actual decision to invest is a matter that would need to be established by each investor based on the specific facts and circumstances at the time of purchase. Establishing such a case in law would depend, among other things, on the oral and documentary evidence as to what transpired between the client and the representative of his FA and what documents the client signed as part of the transaction process.

39) All clients investing in the Notes were generally provided with, or asked to acknowledge receipt of or sign, documentation containing risk warnings and disclaimers in respect of the liability of a seller of the Notes.

42) The Distributors generally take the view that the documentation signed by clients mean they do not have any legal liability to the client and, accordingly, afford them a legal basis not to offer redress in many cases. The Distributors also take the view that they were not liable for statements of opinion expressed in good faith. Additionally, the Distributors highlighted their fiduciary obligations to shareholders and other stakeholders which as a matter of law they needed to take into account in making offers of settlement.

Leave a Comment:

A Singaporean says 12 years ago

Even Mr. Tan Kin Lian asks, exactly what is banned. Apparently only “structured notes” are banned, all other “structured products” can still be sold.

    lioninvestor says 12 years ago

    Just look through the report again.

    Ban is on structured notes only and not structured products.

    So, structured deposits can be sold…

Kenneth says 12 years ago

Maybe DBS will find an excuse to say that flyers were given out before the MAS findings.

In early 2000, I took up a POSB Startrack which gives a 3.5% interest on the 3rd month and after 1st year, they picked 3 top stock from a basket of 10 [US shares]. After 5 years, I got less than principle back. Worst, they said that one of the bond they subscript to lost it rating and they have to change to another bond. Thus, I only took back near to Principle after adding in the 3.5% interest. Mind you, this is during the boom time in USA.

My conclusion, invest on your own or read very carefully the flyer before commiting. Maybe you can ask Lioninvestor for opinion.

I will not fall into another trap of good initial interest but later regret the decision.


Jasmin says 12 years ago

Isn’t POSB = DBS?
Just back from POSB. The ad on this 2.78% on cookies product is ON.
Maybe that 2.78%pa is not a banned product?

Kenneth says 12 years ago

See the above article from The Standard in Hong Kong or read below after my comments:

They are confuse and so are we. People with limited knowledge think that Sgp MAS model is yielding out 95% compensation but in actual fact, we are having a lousy deal.

So what if the FIs are banned from selling structure product. They are going around it. Sgp should follow HK model. Anyway, I believe the silent lot of burnt investors know what is going on and since they cannot do anything, we can only hope Tan Kian Lian, MIAG or maybe FIDReC can help. I have lost faith in MAS since 2008.

Ip supports banks’ offer in minibond settlement

Katherine Ng

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Eight independent lawmakers, led by Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, yesterday met representatives of the Hong Kong Association of Banks in an attempt to resolve the Lehman minibonds saga.
The meeting was mainly focused on the settlement offer by 16 distributor banks that was revealed by The Standard last week, which has won the support of many lawmakers, sources said.

The meeting between the HKAB and the lawmakers went smoothly and the banks were close to concluding an offer, said Ip, who is also the founder of the Savantas Policy Institute, a think-tank.

Ip said the eight lawmakers in her delegation were speaking on behalf of 3,000 Lehman minibond investors in Hong Kong and they hope to resolve the issue of compensation as soon as possible.

” The investors have been seeking help from us, and I have received 1,000 cases,” she said.

Other lawmakers in Ip’s delegation included Lam Tai-fai, Jeffrey Lam Kin- fung, Samson Tam Wai-ho, Leung Ka- lau, Paul Chan Mo-po, Chan Kin-por and Philip Wong Yu-hong, sources said.

The lawmakers cited the report issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Tuesday, which said up to 75 percent of the investors in the city state may be able get some of their money back as they had filed complaints. “They said the MAS report showed only a 32.2 percent repay ratio, which is much lower than the current proposal [from 16 Hong Kong distributor banks] which calls for paying back up to 70 percent,” a banking source said.

Lawmakers were said to support the banks’ proposal as it was “more reasonable” and a better offer when compared with the MAS deal, according to sources familiar with the situation. Last week, representatives from the banks approached the Securities and Futures Commission, presenting a formal proposal to settle the issue concerning compensation for investors who had bought minibonds linked to the collapsed US financial firm Lehman Brothers.

The proposal said banks would offer an average of 60 percent of principal invested or 70 percent to those investors aged over 65. They also agreed to top up the difference if collateral is sold at higher prices in the future.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party legislator Kam Nai-wai suggested Hong Kong follow the Singapore model.

Kam yesterday said he would meet the financial secretary to discuss the matter.

“According to the Singapore model, up to 95 percent of investors could get their money,” Kam said, offering data different from that quoted by the HKAB.


Kenneth says 12 years ago

No big deal. Baning is only a smoke screen. I just received a flyer from POSB on structure deposit with 1st year interest at 2.78%. So much for banning DBS from selling structure products…..

    lioninvestor says 12 years ago

    Looks like the ban only applies to DBS and not POSB……

    Sending out a flyer at this time is a very bad PR move though. Telling the authorities straight in the face that the ban has no effect on them.

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