A better solution is for the distributors to collaborate with the investors to sue the issuers of the credit linked notes. The issuers were the party that benefited most through the creation of these notes. They were also responsible for writing the prospectus in a manner to hide the true nature of the structured product, hence misleading not only the investors but the distributors as well.
The distributors had a fiduciary duty to their customers. It is only right that they should do all they can to help their customers. In this regard, the action of Great Eastern Life should be applauded. The other financial institutions should emulate this good example to do what is fair and right for their customers.
If the distributors, being financial institutions, buy over the credit linked notes for 50% of the invested sum (plus 50% of the ultimate proceeds), they will have the financial and legal means to sue the issuers to recover any damages that were caused by their action. The distributors can also decide on the best action to recover and protect the value of the underlying assets. In contrast, there is no way that the individual investors can take any of these actions.
Another possible action is for the government authority to take the appropriate action on behalf of the consumers. This was done in many countries, most notably in New York State and other parts of USA. Hong Kong is also adopting a similar approach, although done at a somewhat late stage.
I hope that the financial institutions and the government authority can take this action now. Better late than never.
Tan Kin Lian