Many people invested a large sum of money, or their life savings, in the credit linked securities, in the mistaken belief that these securities have low risk and are safe. These securities include the Lehman Minibonds, DBS High Notes, Morgan Stanley Pinnacle Notes and Merill Lynch Jubilee Notes.
These investors lost a large part or all of their investments due to the financial crisis. They were shocked that these structured products had high risk, which they were not properly informed.
The Petition to the Singapore Government ask the Government to see if there were any wrong-doing on the part of the financial institutions that created or marketed these structured products.
These wrong doings could be in the form of negligence, dishonesty or fraud.
I suggest that the Government should appoint competent people to look into the following areas:
2.1 Was there any fraudulent intent in the creation of these products? Were the products created with the aim of defrauding the investing public? Were the drafting of the prospectus, advertisements and other documents carried out with the intent of hiding the true facts from the investing public? Were the lawyers and other professionals involved in this activity?
2.2 Were the financial institutions that marketed the product aware about the real risks of the products? Did they train their front line advisers to hide the true facts? Were they negligent in not understanding the true risk? Did they monitor the conduct of their front line advisers to ensure that the products are sold to the right people, based on their risk profile and preference?
2.3 What were the actual charges taken out of the structured products to pay the distributor and the product creator? Were these charges disclosed in the prospectus? Were the charges at a reasonable level, in comparison with the work that has to be done and the risk taken by the parties?
2.4 Were there conflicts of interest involved in the transactions between the various parties? Were the conflicts of interest adequately disclosed? Were the decisions on the pricing of the products made fairly in the interest of the investors? Was there any arrangement to ensure that the pricing is made based on fair market values?
2.5 Does this arrangement fall under certain laws, such as the Trust Act or more specific laws? Were there any breach of any of the provisions of these laws?
2.6 Does the fund manager break any law, if it takes out money from the fund that are not authorised by the trust deed?3. Call for action
I hope that the Government look into these areas, to see if there were any wrong doing that led to such large losses among the investing public.
If there were wrong doing, the Government can take the appropriate action to bring the offenders to Court and to seek suitable compensation for the losses suffered by the investors.
Tan Kin Lian