Saturday, October 18, 2008

Investor meets HSBC Trustee

Dear Mr.Tan

I decided to vist HSBC Trustee's office because I could not get any satisfactory answers over their hotline. Two ladies in black pantsuits ushered me into a meeting rm. They appear to be quite senior in rank and asked for my identity card before taking my queries. I did not manage to obtain their names. Here are my questions and their replies:

1) Did you sieze the underlying assets and have examined them? Are they worthless, fraudulent or they are genuine and have value?

Answer: We are still examining and evaluating them.

2) What constitute the underlying assets of series 5 & 6 which were seized?

Answer: We cannot divulge this info.

3) MAS has directed you to keep investors informed what options are available to investors?

Answer: Presently some parties have approached them to look at the documents as potential new swap Counterparty but there are no offers. If after a period of time have lapsed and no offers are forthcoming they will proceed to liquidate.

4) You mean proceed with a fire sales in a frozen credit market? Can you hold it to maturity or for a year or two waiting for conditions to improve? or call an AGM to put it to shareholders?

Answer: AGM will be called only for the purpose of approving the new Swap Counterparty and 75% votes in $ terms is required. No shareholders approval is required for liquidation. As Trustee they cannot hold on to shareholders' assets indefinitely.


The replies given by HSBC Trustees are unsatisfactory. I hope that the trustees realise that they have a fiduciary duty to the investors to give a complete statement of account on a timely basis and to take necessary action to protect the best interest of the investors. I shall be consulting a lawyer on this matter to see if there areas of breach of duty.


Anonymous said...

Things are still not transparent at this point in time. It has been a period of agonising wait.

Anonymous said...

For pt. no. 4, is it possible for noteholders, say after gathering more than 75% of signatures, apply to Court for an injunction to stop Trustee liquidating the underlying assets?

Also, is there a need for a replacement for swap counterparty?
The structure will be safer towards maturity without the CDS.

symmetrix said...

Regarding the answer to Q4 above. I have also called HSBC Trustee on this but did not get a satisfactory reply.

How can a forced liquidation of the underlying securities in a suppressed market be in the best interest for noteholders? HSBC is trying to wash its hands off the matter quickly. This is a disregard of their fiduciary duties as trustee.

Can MAS influence HSBC to hold on to the assets for a while (approx 5 yrs at the most). It won't be for an indefinite period.

Unknown said...

I sincerely believe that HSBC's reply to the second question as to what are the underlying assets indicate that they may not know the full extent of the underlying assets.

I visited the bank who sold me Minibonds series 6 and asked the same question. You would think that banks who sold these minibonds would know what these underlying assets are. Unfortunately, I got the same answer as LTW.

This same question should be directed at the MAS to see if they, the approving body for such produts to be sold in Singapore, know what these underlying assets are.

Thank you for reading my comments.

Concerned Investor

Anonymous said...

This is indeed shocking and I guess to them, it is just a job to be completed.

Anonymous said...

The trustees are getting defensive this round because they are trusted into the limelight for something that they might not have the technical expertise to settle.

Likely they will just fallback onto their legal recourse and do things law by law to get out of the mess. Whether that is going to be the best solution or not, we cannot tell. Selling the underlying securities into the market now is like throwing DBS bank at 6$ during crisis times. And bear in mind this is not even a leveraged investment for the investors.

The comment that 'FI shld not fall too much back on their legal rights' should apply to the trustee as well.

Can someone with a stronger will please go to HSBC Trust and ask for the 'Termsheets' of all the underlying securities that they can. (i.e. it might be only the holder of the retail notes are allowed to ask for it). It would be good for the team here to help interpret what's in the structure and assess the most optimal redemption that can be obtained.


Anonymous said...

i guess they don't care. they just liqudate and send u a letter to tell u yr investment residual value is ZERO (actually we supposed toown Merryl Lynch some $, because the value is Negative $ which translate to ZERO). I already lost my money in Jubilee. What kind of sound investment is this? Even if i buy stock, lose $ don't sell yet lor. But this case, they do it without even telling u.

Anonymous said...

We would like to know how much does HSBC Trustee stand to gain from the fire sale of the underlying securities ? We heard rumours that they can get a big commission for the services rendered for the sale .. can anyone confirm ?

Anonymous said...

These are provided at its website:

For series 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 the underlying securities are synthetic portfolio notes issued by Beryl Finance Limited.

For series 5 and 6 the underlying securities are synthetic portfolio notes issued by Zircon Finance Limited.

For series 9 and 10 the underlying securities are floating rate notes issued by Wachovia Corporation.

Anonymous said...

One senario in the minibond saga deserves attention. If the trustee proceeds to liquidate who are the bidders?. Some of them could be the
F.Is who sold us this product with the knowledge what the underlying assets are.
Lets say they successfully bid 5cts
hold it to maturity and collect 80
cts,a 20 bagger investment !!!
Why should they take over as swap counterparty to earn a pittance on
the commissions ??
See the big picture ??

Anonymous said...

just to share, i think the relevant website of HSBC's trustee services can be found here:

and that the relevant personnel at HSBC involved in this trustee biz can be contacted here:

mathew tung said...

Hi I saw this in the brochure:

Full details of the relevant Securities and Mortgaged Property will be set out in the relevant
Supplemental Trust Deed for the relevant Series.

Perhaps we can ask - can we have the supplemental Trust Deed? We are beneficiaries and have rights to information. We may have to pay for the copies according to precedent. There is no trust is there is no right to enforce against the trustee!

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