Thursday, October 23, 2008

DBS Bank, Hong Leong Finance and Maybank to give compensation

DBS said 4,700 customers in Singapore and Hong Kong invested S$360 million in these products. In Singapore specifically, 1,400 customers invested S$103 million in High Notes 5.

'We have found that a number of cases did not meet the standards DBS upholds and the bank will be compensating these customers with effect from tomorrow,' DBS said in a statement to the Singapore exchange.

It added that 'our initial expectation of the worst-case scenario whereby investors will lose their entire principal investment amount is likely to materialize.'.........


Burmese Gold Bull said...

thats great.. at last.. thanx

Unknown said...

er i'd like to roleplay devil advocate here, even its just for fun

in the art of war, theres 2 ways to vanquish your enemies

first of cos is to kill him

second is to demolish his will to fight COMPLETELY

the vulnerable group is the leading pack for the compensatory claims, from social, legal, ethicality point of views, they seems, well, most rightful to do so

they have another effect. its called compassion and often compassion drives people. but what if this group have been quelled, rather they no long er wish to rock the boat thats promising them across the turbulent waters

take away the leader pack, take away the compassion, in a civilized world, the question is would there be a reason for a fight. i mean isnt the primary engine STALLED? wink wink.

I notice no actual numbers, figures, dates, even timelines are provided. there are just some conditions and my my those conditions. i shall say no further into that.

True the announcer can claim this takes time, and involve confidentiality.

But again, how does one know the compensation might possibly come in installments and the first installment could come say 36 months from now.

heck during the good times, i heard of people who invested hundreds of thousands in perfectly healthy products and promised regular interest returns, that contrarily did not come that regularly, and only sparsely so after repeated claims and complaints.

in these times of impending (big) recessions and literally everywhere, i am quite surprised honestly by these early 'goodwill' proclamations, by - hey what do you know, financial entities who landed the whole fiasco in the first place - banks.

would YOU believe me if I said they grew a heart last night

the question is, on what basis COULD people question 'goodwill' if its been painted such insistently.

again i am prepared to remove these alternative perspectives if they would not be even considered such in light of such positive sounding news. i mean who would accuse the indian chiefs have been bought. that dont sound very banker isnt it.

Unknown said...

Thanks Kin Lian for sharing this piece of good news!

While it might be too early to tell without knowing the details of the compensation proposal, its interesting to note that a foreign bank - MAYBANK - is playing the lead role, rather than the local FIs.

Good luck to all affected ones & never give up hope...

Unknown said...

Investors should press to get the compensation apply to all mis-selling cases, not just the old and less educated as set by the age 62 and primary education conditions.

Where there is mis-selling, full compensation should be made.

GOHCT said...

DBS High Notes 5 is similar to Jubilee Series 3, why there are still no news from FI yet.

marginalised said...

It's hard to give them the benefit of doubt esp. after watching with disbelief the way they have been so silent and reactive in responding to customers grievances.
We've done our part to lodge a complaint and go through the recommended steps, now we should give them the opportunity to do the right thing. This is a good first step.
After all, isn't that what we want?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if HLF's compensation is applicable to those who have lodged their complaints. What about those who have not submitted their complaints but are in the same category of customers, are they also entitled? I think there are still many investors who have not submitted their claims (probabaly more than 50%).

C H Yak said...

Analysing the statistics reported in ST and Today.

(a) Total compensation in HK and Singapore is $70 ~ $80 million.

(b) 4700 customers bought a total of $360 million

Expressing (a) as percenatge of (b), compensation is only expected to be paid to 19.4 ~ 22.2 % of the affected investors, since it was reported the vulnerable group would be paid back in full.

Does it means that 80% of investors of these affected investors would still not be compensated?

Does it means that the that the FI's original markup profit from this series is just 20% of the total sum sold and they are just working out a zero-sum game in terms of profitability by giving up this profit and shifting the rest of the total losses to the other affected investors?

And at the end they will not lose a single cent in this episode.

I am not an investor, but just curious with these officially announced figures.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan, finally your effort start to pay off. Seems to be good news. What is required is transparency. Rather than speaking to individual investors, if it is clear cut 'mis-representation', rightfully should execute full compensation rather than review case by case. There are still others instruments which has LEHMAN Bros which so far has not been addressed by Banks.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tan, your effort is rewarded.

While it is a good step to compensate for the iliterate, it is unfair to ignore the educated group. As it is a compensation for misrepresentation and mis-sold, not a charity.

In this issue, those educated do not have much advantage as they are investing based on the same information as acquired as those iliterate. The only difference is that if they are aware of this is a high-risk product, they can read though the pricing statement for more details.

However, the fact is that most people are misled to think these are low-risk, fix-return products, therefore, need not bother to take too much time to do that. As a matter of fact, if a averaged, fixed return investment product requres investors to spend long time doing homework, I am afraid this product will have no market.

Another fact is that the pricing statements do not make risks clear, in stead, risks are hidden here and there. Some serious risks look like general warnings as exist in fixed deposit or low-risk products like growth plan.

Anonymous said...

FIs willing to offer compensation to the highly vulnerable group is indeed good news. Thanks to Mr TAN KL who has worked and helped in this saga. I do think that compensation should made be across the board in the cases of mis-selling and/or mis-led.


Anonymous said...

IMHO... this is great news for a minority group.
To a certain extent, I agree with Summer's assessments - they are removing the "leader pack"... those old and minimally educated ones whose faces & stories serve as a "front" for this whole unfortunate saga.
Sadly, these could also lead to less public compassion for the rest.

To Mr Tan - even though I'm not involve in any of these, I would just like to thank you for doing what you've done.
Thank you, Sir

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tan, is it good for a new swap counterparty to take over Lehman's role? I am asking as investors in Minibond have an option to opt out

Anonymous said...

What about ING? Any news on them?


Anonymous said...

In the limelight are: Lehman Minibond Series (8,000), ML Jubilee 3 (350) & DBS HN5 (1,400) >> 10,000.
How about Pinnacle Series, DBS HN Series other than DBS HN5 and other structured products - How many investors are there and the amount of money involved? Are they not bombs?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, if there is a misrepresentation, then compensation should be made. If the FIs are compensating some, that's enough evidence to show that they committed misrepresentation.

By the way, how could RMs be filling in forms for customers and wrote whatever they wished and had customers signed the forms. That kind of practice should be forbidden. Customers should fill in their own forms and if they can't do it, they can have their relatives who can, do it.

Anonymous said...

Be wary & be careful! Who are the "old-illiterates" in this case? By one of the bank's definition it is those with only primary school education & over 62 (plus with the money to invest). How many of such people are there? The banks are trying to diffuse the situation, halt the momentum of angry investors & win back some semblance of respectability with the general public by doing this. At the same time they get to keep most of the dishourably gotten gains. If the truth of the product is concealed from the "those-below-62-with-more-than-primary-school-education", they are in effect no different from the "old-illiterates". If you don't know & understand the truth about the product how can you say you are literate about the product. It is a wrong yard stick to use. A convenient & expedient yardstick for the banks to use but not a honest yardstick. Do not stop our preparations for class action suit yet. We may still need to go ahead with it. 8,000 people each contributing $500 gives us a $4 million war chest to fight for justice from the banks if they are not honorable enough to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

whatever the compensation is work out i must say the credit should first go to Mr Tan as he do all the dirty work n get all the victims together especially the helpless vulnerable victims to catch the attention of the media n the government. kudos to u Mr Tan
very grateful to u, Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Maybank is compensating for primary education OR age > 62.

HLF is compensating for primary eduation AND age > 62.

My mother is primary education BUT 59years old, and she brought minibind from HLF.

Anything we can do?

Donaldson Tan said...

ST made a bad omission. According to DBS Press Release, the total expected compensation for Singapore and HongKong investors for DBS High Notes 5 is S$70-80M while the total sum invested is S$360M.

Anonymous said...

I agree it is good step forward and I am glad for the older folks. But let's not forget the majority others who don't belong to "vunerable" group but have also lost 10-20 years hardwork and savings in this misled purchase.

I hope FI will compensate all fairly, not just the "vunerable" and move on.

KSH said...

I am really worried now. My mum was 75 when she bought the Minibonds 2, Chinese speaking, was told by RM to invest when all she wanted was to renew her FD but she is not uneducated. She has up to secondary level.

Moreover, she bought from ABN Amro.

Suspect she may fall out of the stringent category.

Anonymous said...

It's heartening to know that FIs are doing the right thing in returning the invested capital to vulnerable investors.
Legally the FIs have a strong case and responsibility to its shareholders. Morally the retail investors have a case.
For the rest of the investors, the key question is who should be compensated and how is the amount of compensation to be determined?

Whatever the outcome I salute you, Mr Tan K L for all you have done for the retail investors.

Hopefully there will more measures in protecting retail investors. This includes better transparency, especially comprehensiveness and conciseness in risk disclosure for financial products.

vertigoer said...

I am relieved and less angered as hopeless auntie and uncle (62, primary education) get their coffin money back.

But, it does not hide the fact that the products was sold with many hidden terms such as 'credit event' and "basket of eight, first to default", which means 8x more risk and individual company bonds.

Remaining 77% of people mis-sold/mis-leaded by should be compensated as well.

The bank has failed it's role as customers's money custodian, so it should be pay for it's own misdeeds.

Anonymous said...

For DBS HN investors, the war is far from over. I believe $70-80 mil mostly goes to HK investors. The vulnerable group in HN investors is very small, may be less then 3%.
Don't get misled by DBS again. Need to continue our fight.

vertigoer said...

I hope the bank employee who push for such products to be sold over counter will be fired.

This is the mastermind who ignore customer risk and push bank staff to sell such products to general public.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any basis of the compensation - misrepresenation? Missold? Mistake?
If no basis, why the FIs are so willingly to compensate?

C H Yak said...

It is stated by one FI that the offer to compensate does not amount to acceptance of liability. Hence, it is "goodwill" compensation to the "highly vulnerable" based on different yardsticks determined by respective FIs.

I believe, in the worst scenario of a legal fight for the balance of the $257 million, this will be where the corporate lawyers of the FIs would apply their legal strategy of repeated filing for interlocutory judgment (partial acceptance to settle) to pressure the investors who are not "highly vulnerable".

Because if investors are to appeal in Court against any interlocutory judgment filed by the FIs in any individual civil case and/or a class action, and fail in their court action, all the FIs' legal costs will be borne by the affected investors even if the FIs were to be found guilty of misrepresentation.

Any simple good lawyer acting for the FIs would know how to play this game.

See the advice given by the anonymous lawyer William under the post "Collective legal action - request for proposal" , paragraph 15.

They could back up such filing of interlocutory judgement by simply claiming "innocent misrepresentation". But if investors appealed and failed, they will end up having to pay heavy legal cost for the FIs.

This is one way to put pressure on the rest to accept a lower than deserved compensation on a goodwill basis out-of-court.

Anonymous said...

Vertigoers, Please note that beside the 8 entities tied together, there are still 100 companies in the so-called second basket, which is not highlighted during sales. When 5 in the second basket fails, your monies will be gone also. Strangely, the 100 companies in the second baskets are not even spelled out in the brochure!!!


Anonymous said...

DBS agrees to compensate the investors for up to 70-80M for hongkong and singapore investors, could they spell out how much are allocated to hongkong where they do not have god father and how much for Singapore. Do not be surprise if the figure read 75-25 !!


Anonymous said...

It is time for the three well-known independent party appointed by MAS to swing into action. They should be inform the cause of misintepretation and the amount offered for compensation and judge whether it is fair. Do not just let the FI to have a free hand on this issue.


Anonymous said...

ch yak,
Don't worry, the FIs' faces and reputations are much much much worth that you face and my face. I don't believe the FIs' "face skin" are so thick that they want to be labelled as cheater or conman, especially DBS with high profile people at the top.

Anonymous said...

Hong Leong Finance is compensating but limited to 2 conditions :

#1: The main account holder must be 62 years or older at the time of investment, with not higher than a primary school education.

#2: The joint account holder, if any, must also not have higher than a primary school education.

I feel that this is not fair as many of the elderly folks put in a joint account holder for the "convenience" of managing the funds should anything happens to them. And in a situation like this, they are penalised because of this.

Is there anything that we can do?

Anonymous said...

As one of the Jubilee Series 3 investors, I feel hurt and disappointed with what I heard and seen from the news these days.

The news mostly respond to Minibonds and Highn Note 5, rarely touch the issues on Jubilee Series 3. Is it because we are the least group while compared to the others two groups?

Jubilee Series 3 have the same situation as High Note 5, with one of the referred entities linked to Lehman, but we never have the chance to voice out our rights --- the notes we hold been silently swap and we simply be informed will get nothing from the swap settlement done!

Even the notes issued by the bankrupt Lehman have a chance to get a new taker to let it run till maturity, why not Jubilee Series 3 which have only one of its entities linked to Lehman?!

We bought the notes because the linked entities are graded either A or A+; we supposed the money we invested sholud be in good hands who can invest them wisely and managed them in a tip-top A condition also; how can they managed the fund till all the Jubilee's investors end-up left with nothing shortly after a year? -- Even worsed than an asset with its issuer went bankrupt!

There's nothing much I can said, but a cheated case that explain verything hurt most!

Did MAS ever look into the hush swap settlement case of Jubilee Series 3 Notes? If MAS don't bother, who else can help us to investigate the con case?

I feel hurt, because the govt that I trusted so much did not care the needs of the cheated group.

Anonymous said...

Though I viewed the compensation action by the FI as briliant strategy, nontheless I am happy for those investors. The rest of us, tough luck!

Anonymous said...

to 1.:27 pm

Me too, one of Jubilee series 3 investors, have the same feeling, Highnote 5 invesotrs are luckier than us. both products are in similar situation, at least Highnote 5 product is under studied ,BUt MAS allowed JUbilee 3 trustee to close the case and wash their hands so easily. This is not fair to Jub 3 investors.

Anonymous said...

The fight has just begun for minibond holders.
Compensating the old and illiterate
is meant to score points with the public.
How many qualify - you can count them on the fingers of your hand.

Anonymous said...

1;27PM, you can form a committee for Jubilee and spearhead your fight against the cheater. You can gather your group at Hong Lim park this Saturdy.

Anonymous said...

I am also very sad. It is our hard-earned money that is going down the drain.

I also feel very left out being not in the "vulnerable" group. Will I get to see some money from my DBS 5 notes "investment"? We have all been law-abiding good citizens of Singapore.

DBS should compensate all investors reasonably regardless of background. This will allow us to get on with our lives which are being badly affected right now. I believe DBS has a heart and hope that it will not leave us behind in its compensation. Sigh!

Anonymous said...

When I bought Minibonds on behalf of my 70 yrs' old mum, the adviser of FI informed could not be in joint name. As only I have a CDP account, all was placed under my name. So does that mean these are not considered as "vulnerable" group ?

mum of 4 said...

HLf is compensating those that are 62 & above..Where does that leave ppl like me who is 50,a fulltime hsewife, sec sch level and with 4 school going children?My purchase was made together with hubby who is tertiary edu with no investment knowledge.We were persuaded by the RM who assured us that the 6 banks are strong and there is no way we could lose our principal unless all 6 banks go bust at the same time.
HLF should not think that only the illiterate and old are suffering. We are too! We have children and 80 over years old parents to take care of!These are all our savings over the years!

Unknown said...

i have asked around some associates with legal understanding, these are some views put up

theres a belief that its possible by offering the core group the terms they so desire, this group would be less inclined towards taking affirmative legal action, especially class action, against the banks whos now turning pay-master.

the banks could have consulted legal offices that they could face tacky issues if they go head to head with such core group. becos not only do they face legal investigation, they face pressure from public offices...who might lead the very legal investigations (this would be the most threatening strangle hold the public offices have on these rolly jolly financial institutions at any one time)

the situation could get much trickier (and expensive) for them if it happens a whole other (bigger) bunch of investors, who are not so aged, much more educated decided to take advantage of the situation by joining the core group bandwagon. 10 core group members might not have the legal clout and more importantly, resources, 1000 might.

so instead of paying out to 10 core group members, the banks face the extreme worst-case scenario possibility they might actually find themselves on the losing end and ordered to pay back a full 1000 of these investors, tom, dick and harry inclusive (the banks know they are not perfect in their ever pursuance of maximizing earnings, but then again they know they are not ENTIRELY negligent ALL the time either, but they just dont want to spare the energy to go thru 1000 cases, even if its case by case, ESPECIALLY if its case by case).

but we all learn by now extreme worst-case scenario possibility has a knack of coming true these days.

by immediately offering compensation (note i said immediately offering compensation, i didnt say offering immediate compensation) to the core group, in fact, the banks could be signaling a subtle challenge to the rest of the 'mob', Take us on if you think you could.

again i would be more than happy to remove these if they are deemed utterly out of perspective.

Anonymous said...

Someone told me and this will be remembered by people of a certain vintage: "Remember the Gemini chit fund?" This person said that the entire HN5 saga smacks of that. People peddle piles of manure again and again...And to look good and to appease others they comensate the "vulnerable". Don't get me wrong. The older people should be taken care of. But isn't eveyone who was mis-sold to "vulnerable"?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Tan Kin Lian,

I really think that you're over-defending all the Notes Investors,including the better-educated ones.








Anonymous said...

the compensation to only vulnerable group without admission of liability..may not be a good news to the original intended cause by all aggrieved investors. investors who accepted immediate compensation probably will withdraw from a possible class action and this weakens entire group

Anonymous said...

I hope all of us stop & think for a moment the message the bank is sending by agreeing to compensate the old, illiterate group & not the rest. What they are saying is "we have not misled or misrepresented, it is the old the illiterate who did not understand what our RMs presented." So by that reasoning, since we have not misled or misrepresented, the "not-so-old" & literate should have understood. So it is their fault & not ours that they invested knowingly". If the newspapers & TV start showing happy faces & satisfied old & illiterate victims praising the banks for their actions, the banks would have very cleverly won over the general public, while the rest of the 90% of victims may end up forgotten. One more thing, Hong Leong Finance is only compensating the old & illiterate the capital less the interest they have earned. This means that these people would have incurred a loss taking into account the interest they could have earned when they put their money in fixed deposit. Why should they be made to pay for the misconduct of their RMs? If anything else these people should be paid their capital plus loss of interest from fixed deposits. That's fair.

Anonymous said...

A word of caution to those offered compensation and agreeable to same. It is likely that these are blatant cases of mis-selling which the FI concerned would not have been able to defend in court. What it demonstrates is that there must have been systemic mis selling going on but that the unwary "educated" at the time of transaction may have weakened their cases by signing forms which indicated that they were acting "independently" and/or that they had read and understood and accept the risks involved. The chances of this group of investors can be strengthened if those accepting compensation do not sign letters stating that the compensation by the FI is strictly a goodwill gesture on their part and that the FI in offering the compensation is not admitting any liability or misconduct vis-a-vis the relevant legislation. Perhaps TKL and any other speakers registered to speak this coming Saturday at Hong Lim Green can touch on this. Tks.

freeier said...

all of you are speaking with emotion.

granted, hard earn money are involved, but emotion won't help you get back more.

lets take it step by step. if you are convince the bank missold the product to you, you always have the chance to sue and to get the bank to budge.

and i do not agree that having the 'vulnerable' within the group on class act will help much. and end up its trying to ride on the 'vulnerability' of the older group.

go back and put down a summary of what you have done (as in the investment) and what your investment advisor has told you. Jot down the facts and try to see which are the weak point of the bank/investment advisor. Submit a claim based on that. Alot of time this is a better solution than to claim unfairness and sue.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Tan,
I think group of investor must come together and decide which is better: FULL compensation for vulnerable or partial compensation for all. Looks like the FI are using divide and conquer strategy. Can we have a petition to see how best we could get this done?

Anonymous said...

To 7:28,

And why aren't you blaming your remiser and stock analyst for your stock market losses? Because if you did, you'd be laughed at.

In cases of mis selling and mis representation, the investors bought this product from their FI were told that the products were very safe and guranteed.

I understand where you are coming from but unless you know someone who was affected by this it would be impossible to understand why they felt their bank grossly misrepresented the product. It's not about blame, it's about the end of integrity and trust. There must be some level of trust (not necessarily 100%) Without that, it's the end of business as we know it and perhaps a civil society. Let's not kid ourselves, it's a dog eat dog world but trust once lost is very tough to be regained.

Anonymous said...

To freeier

Sorry I may not have expressed myself clearly enough. I think it is patently clear that there has been an attempt to market the product as a FD/safe ( minimum A rated mah )bond proxy but with slightly incremental yields. If only MAS will review the FAQ and marketing kits that must have been prepared by the FIs this will show up. Indeed if they were to go through the internal documentation of the FIs especially by the new business product people, they will find evidence of this. I would bet that the risk of the entire investment failing upon just the bankruptcy of the sole CDS party would not have been surfaced let alone highlighted. But MAS will not do this investigation they will only review the selling process ) as it will indirectly be a smirch on their own staff's competence as they tacitly "approved" the product by permitting it to be registered. MAS will only act if there is substantial public pressure. This is only possible if the aggrieved group can garner the support of the others who were not involved but who would also be aghast at such shameless and unethical behaviour on the FI's part.To them, the caveat emptor principle seems to apply in this instance but this is only valid if there was no systemic intention to mis-sell with a profit objective. This is why the harmed investors must not let up the momentum.

Currency Rates said...

Thanks Tan Kin Lian, Thank you for sharing this piece of good news updating.

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