Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hong Kong Government Meets Banks Accused Of Mis-selling Lehman Bonds

HONG KONG (AFP)--Hong Kong's financial services chief on Thursday weighed in on the dispute over the possible mis-selling of investment products backed by failed U.S. bank Lehman Brothers (LEH).

Chan Ka-cheung, secretary for financial services, met representatives of 21 banks, who are accused by disgruntled investors of mis-selling "mini-bonds" that could now be worthless.

"The secretary met with representatives from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission, and the banks today," said a government spokeswoman.

"The meeting was held with the hope that the banks can find ways to step up their communication with the retail investors and increase their transparency."

Some of the banks, including DBS (D05.SG) and DahSing (2356.HK), had agreed to settle through mediation and have been negotiating with individual investors on compensation deals, according to a report in the Apple Daily.

The move has put pressure on other banks to find a solution, prompting Chan to hold the meeting, the report said.

The investors, who bought HKD12.7 billion ($1.63 billion) of the complex financial products, had earlier threatened to sue the banks for not explaining the risks involved before selling them the bonds.

Many of the investors are retired and had put all their savings into the investment because they trusted their banks.

The Securities and Futures Commission said previously it has launched an investigation into some of the institutions on alleged mis-selling.

Lehman Brothers, one of Wall Street's most established banks, collapsed last month, sparking turmoil on financial markets across the world.

Dow Jones Newswires


Anonymous said...

Mr. Tan,
Singapore has 5 millions people. Look like you are the only one in Singapore who is really concerned, and come forward to help for free.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear that DBS in HK is settling with HK investors.

This means there will be a basis for comparison on how DBS in SG should settle the claims.

If it doesn't match up.. we all know what happened.

Anonymous said...

This comment is not focused on this thread but this blog.

How does one qualify an expert? Do you pick one that agrees with you or one that doesnt?

Even polls are highly inconclusive, if the group you pick from favours you would that be considered as rigging?

Often I question the intentions of the source?

Just because it appears on the internet in the form of a blog (or of any other) does not make it general consensus.

Anonymous said...

You expect our ministers to do what their counterparts in Hong Kong and elsewhere did?
Only when pigs can fly. Why?
Because they will still win the next elections simply because there are practically no opposition. Or even signs of a credible emerging opposition.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Tan,
I don't know if you'll post the below comments, but i just want to share my thoughts.
All the best to you in fighting a good cause for us!!!
Good to see that Hong Kong's financial services chief is stepping out to help distressed people, but what about our own MAS???
If DBS can help people in Hong Kong to settle for reasonable compensation deals, what about helping their own fellow singaporeans?

Much has been said at many forums, I just hope that justice has eyes & also cause and effect happening to the 'masterminds' If their conscience is clear, then they won't have to be afraid.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tan,

I have signed the Petition. But I still want to write to MAS, FIDC and MP. Who should I write to in MAS and FIDC? Kindly furnish me the email addresses and names. I intend to send asap if possible tomorrow. We have a strong case of misrepresentation because the 6 entities and their financial well-being is made out to be the key barometer of health of the MiniBond!!

Anonymous said...

Misrepresentation of the structured products is certain.

This is not unlike the Slim 10 case some years back when government took a tough stand on the Distributors/agents of Slim 10 .They were sued for not declaring what was really in the pills. Today we have structured products with hidden toxic contents.

The government should view this similar to that of the Slim 10 episode. Otherwise, rogue marketers and distributors will continue with undesirable marketing techniques such as using the name & image of MAS to slip in questionable products. One reason why I bought the MiniBond is because it is approved by MAS!

As it is, Singapore had a case of a rogue trader before. We should not allow a rogue bank to evolve.

The onus is on the issuer and agents to ensure that a product, whatever that is, is wholesome. All consumer products come with a warranty for defects, why not structured financial products?

Structured products are complex and abstract. They are beyond the understanding of the layman and even those with the relevant knowledge. As such, the issuer and the agents/distributors must shoulder the responsibility to guarantee that their products, like drugs, do not contain traces of toxic constituents.

Anonymous said...

gahment interception or interference becomes a breach of contract law, how to handle?

pointing fingers is always the name of the game, that's mankind's habit. "I did nothing wrong", "I was decieved"...

why gahment did not ensure these products are safe? before allowing the banks to sell them? We might as well say, why allow financial education to create so many financial engineers to struchure such junky products? .......

anyway, in any shakeup, there is always winners and loosers, pick up from there and yield from there.

Anonymous said...

Sometime it is a matter of attitude.
A person capable of doing somethings like to say "I can't do anything" and just walk away.
Govt. has always tell people to have "positive thinking".
Hope people who are in a posn to help can think positively, and think of some ways to help.

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