Monday, December 05, 2011

New regulations on financial products

A journalist ask me this question:
Hi Mr Tan,

Are you familiar with the Specified Investment Product rules that take effect from Jan 1 next year?
I would like your thoughts on the new rules as I can see a few potential problems such as raising the cost of selling investment products by forcing many people to go offline when purchasing unit trusts, ETFs etc?
Also, it does seem strange to group plain vanilla mutual funds with more complex hedge funds, structured warrants etc.

My reply
This is creating a lot of wasteful work without tackling the root of the problem. It is typical in Singapore to pass the buck to someone else, in this case the financial adviser or the relationship manager - but how on earth are they going to give the proper advice? Many relationship manager sold the toxic products to the consumers prior to the global financial crisis - because they are not suitable to give this type of advice. But (sigh), this is the Singapore way!


Tan Kin Lian said...

I am quite sad that Singapore will continue to go down the slope, and there is nothing that can be done to correct the situation.

We have this mindset to avoid responsibility by pushing it to somebody else, and to create a lot of waste just to look good (someway say "wayang").

The people in leadership, from the ministers to the top civil servants, are brought up in this culture. And it has become the Singapore system - and is too deep rooted. It is quite sad.

Tan Kin Lian said...

I quoted this example to the journalist. A doctor is trained to diagnose the ailment of a patient and to prescribe the appropriate medicine.

The doctor does not carry out his own assessment of the merits of each drug, but relies on the research carried out by the approving authority, i.e. the health science authority. The authority will classify the medicine into those that are unsafe, those that are safe under certain situation and those that can be sold over the counter and bought by consumers.

The role of the doctor is to use the expert research and prescribe the appropriate medicine to the patient.

It is not possible for the doctor to do the work safely, without the research carried out by the scientist.

The same situation apply to financial products. The experts must analyse the product and advise the financial advisers and relationship managers on those that are suitable or not suitable to be sold to consumers, and the circumstances in which they are considered to be suitable.

Singapore's 5 Minute Investment Diary said...

To eliminate TOXIC financial PRODUCTS from being sold in Singapore;

Why doesn't Singapore government use the same operating model as that used in eliminating TOXIC food PRODUCTS from being sold in Singapore?

From the website of;
Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

Safe food, healthy animals and plants for Singapore; trusted and respected globally.

Ensure a resilient supply of safe food;

Ensure the health & safeguard the welfare of animals;

Safeguard the health of plants;
Facilitate agri-trade;
Nurture and inspire staff to be the best we can be!

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