Dear Mr. Tan,
I would like to respond to the following misconceptions and unfair criticisms:
1) The fixed deposit is about 1.5% in 2007 and you get 5% from minibond. You should have known better. So high differential. Still claims risk?
It is not fair to use 12 months fixed deposit rate because minibond is for 5 years. There are many low risk products offer 4% to 6% returns from the market. E.g. DBS6%NCPS, UOB5.05%NCPS, OCBC5.1%NCPS, OCBC4.2%NCPS…. If we compare the minibond with the OCBC 4.2% and 4.5% preference shares available from the stock market, which we can sell the shares anytime if we need cash, the 5% offered by minibond is not attractive because we can’t touch the money for 5 years.
2) High return high risk, since you get 5%, the risk should be high.
Many financial experts agreed that the reasonable return from long term investments (5 to 10 years) should be around 4% to 6%. A 5% return from minibond should not be considered as high as it is a long term (5 years) investment. All high risk investments are on short term basis, who would want to invest into a long term high risk product?
3) Who ask them to invest blindly on a product which they don’t understand?
Misled by the newspaper advertisements and sales brochures, many investors thought they were buying a five-year bond issued by the six leading banks. It turned out that it is a very complex product which even the sales people from the financial institutions are unable to explain clearly.
4) As a responsible investor, you should have read the prospectus before making the investment.
The minibond prospectus summary is as misleading as the sales brochures. The other parts of the prospectus give plenty of information on the credit ratings of the six leading banks which reinforce the believing that it is a bond issued by the banks.
It is also not realistic to expect an ordinary investor to understand fully the entire prospectus before making an investment. For example, of the tens of thousands of OCBC preferences shares investors, how many of them really read and understand fully the entire prospectus of the preference shares before making the investment?
5) Who would expect Lehman brothers to go bankrupt? (i.e. the risk is low at the time of selling) It is unfortunate that Lehman did fail. You have to accept it and move on.
Minibond is not a bond issued by Lehman or by the six banks. It is a high risk long term complex structure product. Who would dare to invest in a high risk product for 5 years?
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