I’m posting this on behalf of HK5D, who would like to find volunteers to work with him in maximizing the value of the Minibonds. More updates to follow later in the week.
I attended the gathering at the Speakers’ Corner yesterday. It was great to have someone like Mr. TAN Kin Lian to organize it. Even better, there were sign posts to group victims by products so that they can meet each other. In fact, I did an impromptu leading of a discussion group focusing on how we can get the most value out of the MiniBonds back to the investors (what I now call Track B below). I am putting my comments here because by reading through the discussion stream, I can see a lot of brains here.
And, I am hoping we can get a handful of volunteers who have deep understanding of this MiniBond stuffs who can represent the investors to work with MAS, the Financial Institutions and HSBC (MiniBond Trustee) to find a buyer – just as important is at the right timing (last week could be the darkest day in the stock market worldwide in this century).
Let me volunteer myself first: I spent half my life in the U.S. and as a CPA there, I have a pretty good understanding of how the subprime mortgage market (besides the financial market) works in the U.S. Another area which I can contribute is I am a transplant from Hong Kong and I can monitor the developments over there. So, if you can help, please don’t be shy – I felt really sorry for many of those old folks there at the Speakers’ Corner with their life savings gone. They need your help!
Up to now, I think there are pretty good traction along what I call “Track A: Mis-Sold” meaning investors were sold a high risk product thinking they were investing in a low risk product. Blogs and newspapers are full of stories of how people were misled and how they lost their life savings. There are also plenty of advices on how to complain. Yet, it is also the consensus that very few people can outwit the FI lawyers to get money back this way.
So, in addition of Track A, I would like to start a “Track B: Maximize Value” track. And, this is not a competition of Track A but rather, a safety net. And, to be laser focused, I will concentrate on Track B only. Specifically for some of the MiniBond owners, they are lucky because Lehman is not one of the credit reference entities. Please read my earlier comment in http://www.martinlee.sg/minibond-investors-meet-with-mas/#comment-2925 on why the underlying securities even like subprime mortgages are worth money. Why am I focusing on MiniBond? Because over 80% of the investors are MiniBond investors. And, Jubilee 3 is said to be worth next to none.
Coming from Hong Kong, I have an advantage. I follow the development there. And, they seem to be ahead of Singapore. So, let’s copy, don’t innovate:-) Specifically, HKFA (their MAS), the FI’s and the MiniBond investors representatives (do we have representatives in Singapore? We do have representatives for Track A. But, I am not aware of for Track B – and if so, I have not been informed of what their plans) are in discussions with buyers and they are working towards a target of 60+ cents on a dollar back. What about Singapore? If we don’t band together and work proactively, I am afraid we may get less month back than similar investors in Hong Kong.
By the way, using the same mechanism, we can try to get the FI’s to pay us back the commission they earn (3% or so) on a moral voluntary basis. These MiniBond type stuffs generate so much bad publicities for them that if I were an FI owner, I would certain do that to salvage my reputation.
Last but not least, my hotmail alias is HK5D which could be inspirational for Singaporeans. In Chinese, HK5D means “Hong Kong is a bit faster”. Judging from the Track B development, I would say it is quite true that Hong Kong is ahead. And, I am including a link to relevant newspaper reporting in Hong Kong. I said inspirational because even though we are behind in Singapore, we can play catch up (borrow an F1 might help also:-) and still achieve the same payback if we get our acts together.
The link below (in Chinese since many people at the Speakers Corner do not speak English) basically says some MiniBond series may be able to get 60% back. Exceptions are Series 5-9 (some say 7-9) which swaps with Lehman and worth about zero. And, series 15-18 uses subprime mortgages as collateral and may get let than half back. Now, the series might be different than Singapore’s – another reason we should band together and demand more info on the underlining assets in Singapore.
Here is another link which as excellent FAQ:
Hong Kong investors are quite demanding. If I were an investor in Hong Kong and can get 60 cents (some are saying 70 now if you have the right series) back on a dollar, I would be very happy. Yet, people were calling for head of HKFA to resign. God forbid if, when all the dust settle, Hong Kong investors get 60 cents back and Singaporean’s only get 10 cents, e.g. What would Singaporeans do?
Please let me know if you can contribute and are interested in volunteering.
P.S. I am piggy backing on this blog instead of starting my new blog because I don’t think we should be fragmented. We should united all investors and put all the brains together across all blogs. I particularly like this blog having the ability to publish what you write right way. Of course, this also means we have to write responsibly. To get better traction, it would be great if the blog master can move this out of the reply and state a new stream.