Saturday, October 25, 2008
Speech at Speaker’s Corner – 25 Oct 2008
1. Lodge your complaint
The first step is to lodge your complaint with the financial institution that sold the product to you.
Be honest. In your report, you should state honestly what you were told and what you were led to believe, when you decided to invest in the product. Many investors were assured that the structured product is “safe” and “low risk” and is a good alternative to “fixed deposit”. If this is the case, you can state it honestly.
Do not worry that you have signed forms given to you by the sales representative (or relationship manager). If you were not told about the content of the form and did not get a clear explanation on what the statements meant, you can state it in your report.
The most important point is to state how you were misled, and what you were told by the sales representative.
I have printed the forms for you to collect the relevant information to complete your complaint. You can get the assistance of the volunteers, if you are not clear about the type of information that is needed.
Read this advice:
2. “Non-Vulnerable” Investor
Many investors were unsure about how they will be treated, as the fall outside of the “vulnerable” group. So far, MAS and the financial institutions have not stated how these investor will be treated.
Let us take it one step at a time. You should lodge your complaint and attend the interview arranged by the financial institution. You can state honestly what is contained in your statement that you lodged with the financial institution.
If you do not wish to attend alone, you can bring a family member, friend or fellow investor to accompany you.
3. Dispute Resolution Center
If you are not able to get a satisfactory compensation from the financial institution, you can bring you case to Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Center, FiDREC (http://www.fidrec.com.sg/). You pay a fee of $50.
FiDREC will form a panel to consider your complaint. FiDREC has the authority to pass a judgment that is binding on the financial institution. This decision is NOT binding on the consumer. The consumer still has the right to take the case to court.
At present, FiDREC has the authority to decide on claims up to $50,000. It can hear larger cases, subject to agreement of the financial institution.
4. Open Forum with Financial Institution
I suggest that investors should get together, according to the financial institution that sold the product to you, to request the financial institution to hold an open forum with the investors to discuss the following:
a) How the investors were misled by the information given by the sales representatives
b) How the financial institution can compensate the investors for their loss, caused by the bad advice and mis-information.
5. Petition #4
There are a potential of 10,000 cases to be handled. So far, just a handful of cases under the “vulnerable group” have been handled. It will take a long time for these 10,000 cases to be resolved, using the “case by case” approach. Many of those affected have still not lodged their complaint.
I will be organizing another Petition #4 addressed to the chairman of MAS. This is to ask MAS to help find a collective solution to the mis-selling by the financial institutions. A collective approach will reduce the stress on the individual investors in making the complaint and will ensure that fair compensation is given to all the affected investors, according to the category that they fall under.
6. Legal action
Some investors wish to take collective legal action. I like them to be aware that it can be costly and risky to take this action. It should be considered only as a last resort.
Before the investors decide to take this action, they should be aware about the cost and the chance of winning the case. They must also agree on the approach. They may be able to get different estimates of the cost from other lawyers.
Tan Kin Lian
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- Onus of proof
- Volunteers to write statement of claim
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