Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not a happy time for me

26 October, 2008

Editor
Today Paper

I refer to your article entitled “Finally, a Change on Friday” (Today, 25 October 2008).

I thank your editorial director P N Balji for an excellent article in tracing the developments in Singapore on the structured products affected by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

I also welcome the decision by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to help resolve the complaints of the investors in these structured products. Like the saying goes, “better late than never”.

The MAS has asked the financial institutions to give priority to the “vulnerable” investors, who are defined to be elderly and lowly educated. Many investors who fall outside of this category are worried that their claims may be ignored. MAS has since clarified that their complaints will also be attended to.

You made the following statement which I need to correct, “… they should not have maintained silence …. thus creating a vacuum which people like Mr.Tan filled happily”. I wish to say that it was not a happy time for me.

For the past one over year, I have advised visitors to my blog www.tankinlian.blogspot.com to avoid these structured products. I was horrified to learn, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, about the extent of the losses incurred by the investors and how they were misled into investing in the structured products.

I decided to organise a Petition to ask the Government to investigate if there were breaches of the law and if so, could the relevant authority take relevant action to help the investors to seek fair compensation. I decided to hold a meeting at Speaker’s Corner to give an update of the Petition.

The past three weeks have been very stressful for me. I have to deal with more than 50 e-mails and postings to my blog each day. Many of the investors were lost and needed guidance. I am grateful for the large number of volunteers who came forward to help, but the main burden fell on my shoulders.

I wished that there was no vacuum that needed to be filled. In an earlier statement to the media, I express the wish that MAS could provide the appropriate assistance to the investors so that I do not have to “work so hard”. I hope that it is possible for me to step back soon to attend to my normal routine.

Tan Kin Lian

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Tan
We all understand that you r not having a happy time, in fact its stressful time. You have nothing to gain from it but you have all the criticism from some nasty people. I m not one of the victims and i think what u r doing is very noble.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Tan,
You are doing it for the benefit all many helpless investors. Without your leadership, I believe we would not have come to this stage to get the FIs and the authority to respond. The outlook is far from clear and satisfactory. I can feel the stress and uneasiness in doing such thing. I also believe there could be some thread from certain people who are unhappy with your work. But I am sure you have the support of the people and your efforts will be deeply appreciated, regardless of the outcome. Carry on, sir, you are the only one.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Tan,
I am one of the victims and I would like to thank you for all you have done as it is really a stressful thing for you to do.

Even now only if MAS step in, it will continue to be stressful on you and all the victims.

G C said...

Though I was not a victim but by following Mr. blog and his comments and articles etc, I just can feel his sincerity to give his UNCONDITIONAL assistance to those who need help. One should not always believe in an ulterior motive when ever a person giving assistance for free.

One should really spend a bit of time to read what Mr. Tan has written and comments on his web site and blog to really understand this man who as I believe genuinely offer his wise and advise.

I also wish to category state that my praise of Mr. Tan has not ulterior motive as I only known him as who is he by reading his blog. I never know him in person.

I only need to mentioned that I should have read his blog earlier as I have not make a wiser decision on my own financial planning especially with regards to life insurance.

Cheer Mr. Tan please write more on your blog after this crisis and continue to do so whenever you could.

G C Tham

Anonymous said...

*yawn*

C H Yak said...

Dear Mr Tan

You have not been happy seeing so many investors lost their hard earned savings, but I think you should feel happy that you have gained so many friends and their respect as this saga unfolds, even before it has reached a final happy ending. I believe you will finally see all of them happy again.

As someone who is fortunate to have known you even before this financial saga, I wrote an open letter to Today in open support of your action, and also asking them to open up their "Forum Page" for more of these unfortunate investors to express themselves or for other people who are willing to voice out for these unfortunate people. However, I must say if there is no Climate of Fear, there must still be some reservation.

I once shared with you a "FRIEND" is quite easily spelled as "FIEND", without the "R". I believe against your leadership and guidance in this matter, versus what the investors had faced in their own circumstances of losses and complex dealings with the FIs and their RMs, they will begin to realise this minute thin line.

I believe many will see the "R' in you with "RESPECT".

Falcon said...

I refer to the statement “… they should not have maintained silence …. thus creating a vacuum which people like Mr.Tan filled happily”. I have not bothered to read the original article because nowadays I do not want to upset myself when I see callous and untrue reportings in our national papers.
When I read this in Mr Tan's blog, I am very angry at this sardonic description of Mr Tan's role in helping the people of Singapore. If I am not mistaken, this PN Balaji has always been anti Mr Tan Kin Lian since his time at NTUC Income, probably because Mr Tan did not pander to the papers whims and fancies.
If MAS and our national papers have done their duties to protect investors interests through rigorous checks and education as well as provide the kind of advice that Mr Tan gives regularly in his blog, then I am sure Mr Tan would not have to fill this vacuum.

Chris said...

In Singapore how should a person especially a foreigner raise such issues for debate? The normal response seems to be that unless you can actually prove Singaporeans are affected you should keep quiet or risk a defamation suit.

Over the years I have seen things offered in Singapore which I knew to be bad because of my experience in other markets in the world. Should I share that experience or as a foreigner keep quiet and not "interfere"?

The question is should I only apply my skills and knowledge to my job or should I try and apply it to the community and country I live in as well? Where is the line between contributing and interfering ? As a foreigner respect for that line is very important but is it right for me to fear it quite so much ?

Put simply if I know a product is bad in another part of the world must I wait until someone loses money in Singapore before I can publicly say I know it?

When I have raised such issues with friends locally the response was why do you care ? You are not affected and no Singaporean has reported a problem. If it was not OK the Government would not allow it. Let business continue and let the uneducated buyer beware. He will become educated. Do not raise such matters.

There is much talk about the citizens being politer and nicer. Is it the right and polite thing to ignore an issue if you suspect someone is being misled or even cheated ?

The Government wants to encourage business and investment here so is open to new ideas. The scammed often feel foolish and it will take many years before there are enough claims to raise the level of public awareness. By the time the Government becomes aware of problems the business owners may have extracted millions.

As an example many people have lost money on Land Banking schemes in the UK. Can Singapore not learn from that experience without waiting for its own citizens to report problems with it as well ?

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan,
You are Godsend. Where can we find someone like you who is unselfish, caring, and fight all the way out for the benefit of others. These people are even unrelated to you. It is definitely not an easy task. I salute you. You not only speak your kind out but very knowledgable and experience in many areas. You are definitely the most suitable person on earth. You are a rare GEM.

I myself did alot of charity work. I enjoy every moment and I have no regrets at all. It is very fulfilling. The memory of those that I have helped will forever stay in my mind. I am sure the same goes for you. God Bless You and your family. Without you, we do not know how many hundreds and million of people will be conned.

Everlearning said...

You have come forward to help, when help is needed most. Others also come forward to volunteer at the present need.

Many who have the expertise remain in their comfort and cosy zone, offering no help at all. You may call them just spectators.

But your hardwork will be paid-off. Through this contention, many will be educated and become aware of such bad products flooding the financial market.

Press on!And press on!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tan,

Your effort will be pay off once you join the new insurance company. Many clients will surrender their insurance policies and sell their unit trusts/SD/toxic waste to invest in your new insurance comapny. When that times come, your fruit of your labor will be realized. For the time being, just endure all inconveniences. You will be well compensated by the new insurer when their sales surged due to your reputation.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan, what you did is extraordinary! as earlier writer said, once u set up your new age insurance co, many people will surrender and buy from you. $$$ will start roliing in for u!!!!

Raymond T said...

Hi Mr Tan, if I bump into you on the road, I will buy you coffee! :D

Parka said...

Thank you. Your effort is really appreciated.

Xiang said...

Mr Tan,

Please don't feel upset about it. Don't let those outrageous remarks affect you. It is just not worth it. It's the person's mouth, you can't stop anybody from saying what they want. These people are jealous and feel threathened. They know your strength, thus trying to badmouth you. There are still alot of people supporting what you have been doing. That's what matters most. Once this is over, you can also sleep well knowing that you have achieved what you set out to do.

Please take good care of your health.

Falcon said...

I can assure you Mr. Tan, when you are in your twilight years you will be wearing a smile on your lips as flashes of your attainment permeates your surroundings and the mere mention of your name brings smiles to millions while those who have ammassed millions will be fidgeting in their remaining last two years, suffering from cognitive dissonance, wondering whether they have done the right thing and what is the use of the millions when millions curse them and snigger at them and pop champagne to celebrate their impending demise.

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