Saturday, February 20, 2010

Accountant interested in Pro-Investor

I introduced the Pro-Investor simulation game to an accountant. She was fascinated with the game and said that she would like to try it. It allows the player to practice and develop the skill of picking the right stock. Click here.

Good response to rechargeble torchlight

I gave the rechargeable torchlight to two friends. They found the torchlight to be most useful and were surprised that the price was only $6.50. One friend bought 10 pieces to give away. At the talk on financial planning,  the participants bought all the 10 pieces of the torchlight that I brought along.

You can buy the rechargeable torchlight ($6.50) at 15% discount in February (promotion code BLOG). The discount is also available for the books. Order here. Click on "details" to see a photo of the torchlight.

Talk at Pasir Ris Library - Financial Planning in Time of Crisis

I am giving the above talk at the Pasir Ris Library today (20 Feb 2010) 5 to 6 pm.
Please register at the NLB website or come early to the Library to register on the spot (subject to availability).

To register:

Please note that the talk shows the previous title - which has now been changed.

Title - Financial Planning during Time of Crisis
Speaker - Tan Kin Lian, President, Financial Services Consumer Association
Place: Pasir Ris Public Library
Date: Saturday 20 February 2010
Time: 5 - 6 pm


Do vacations make you happier. Read this interesting report. I agree with the findings. It is better to have a vacation at home.

Increase in motor insurance premiums

Mr Tan
I've been told by my motor insurer that there was a general increase of motor premiums of about 20% across the industry from last year. This is within your understanding?

I believe that this is the situation, but you can call the General Insurance Association of Singapore to find out.

Shared bicycles at University of Indonesia

The University of Indonesia has 14,000 undergraduates.

It provides 500 bicycles for shared use by the students. The students do not need to own their bicycles or to lock the bicycles when not in use. This save parking space.

This photo shows the students riding the shared bicycles along the bicycle path.

The university also operates shuttle buses to transport the students within the campus.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Affordable housing - 3 years of average income

According to this article, an affordable housing represents 3 years of average earnings. I have recommended that  the price should be not more than 4 to 5 years, so I am already stretching on the high side. Many people are buying properties representing 7 years or more of their earnings. I consider it to be far too high.

Products at Internet Shop

You can now view the pictures of the books and other products at Internet Shop. Click on "Details" for the specific product. There is a discount of 15% for purchases up to 28 February 2010 under the Promotion Code - BLOG.

To order:

The Shape Quiz is now available in a book ($6) or a mini-pak ($2). They contain 4 plastic pieces to form 100 shapes. It is fascinating and interesting. Many people enjoy this puzzle. Some customers bought a few mini-paks to give to their children - one for each child. After 15% discount, the price is $5.10 and $1.70 only  

Get compensation from distributor

Dear Mr Tan,
I received a check for my Mindbond series 1, representing 21% of my investment. Fidrec has scheduled my hearing in March. The Fidrec officer told me they will continue to adjudicate my case, but I feel the hearing is meaningless. Could you kindly give me your advice please?

Reading you blog became my daily routine but recently I found limited information on the minibond issue. I think many victims have decided to give up like myself. I really appreciate what you have done for us victims.


You should continue to attend the FIDREC adjudication and fight hard to get some compensation from the distributor for your loss of 79%. This should be on top of the refund that you have received.

Biggest speculation of a lifetime

The biggest speculation that most people can make in their lifetime is in property. This is a big transaction that takes 5 to 10 years of their earnings. If they get it right, they are rich. If they get it wrong, they have to pay for this mistake over many years.

Many took this decision out of fear that the price of a home will become more expensive in the future. Some speculate out of greed, to make money while the bubble continues. In most cases, the losers are the consumers who are ignorant of market trends and economic forces, have to depend on gossips, and can be exploited by the property agents and developers.

The property market in many countries have gone through cycles of boom and bust. They are the results of greed, fear and exploitation. This is not a fair market. It is an exploitative market. Many do not realize that it is a big speculative gamble - because it is clouded by the false belief that they are "making an investment".

A good government can shelter its citizens from the exploitation of the market by regulating the market. It can manage the economic forces to ensure that property prices bear a fair multiple to the average wages of a country. Each working person should be required to set aside a certain percentage (say 25%) of their earnings for a decent home. They should not be required to be exploited and pay more (say 35%) for this cost of living.

If a government has control over most of the land, it can set a benchmark for the market to follow. If the government allows the speculative forces to set the market price and then use it to justify its own pricing, it will contribute to instability in the property market - which is harmful for the economy.

It does not matter whether the people are buying or renting a property - it is more important that the cost is fair. I am referring to a decent housing at a fair rental or purchase price. If any person is willing to spend more for a larger house, it is their personal decision.

Many people have clamored for "affordable housing". It is an important role of a good government, especially one that has control over the cost of land.

Tan Kin Lian

Insurance brokerage and conflict of interest

The brokerage fees paid to brokers for selling insurance has led to conflict of interest that is harmful to consumers. Read this report.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

TKL Intelligence Quiz Vol 3

Have you heard about the Intelligence Quiz created by Albert Einstein? If has baffled many people over the past decades. The quiz is contained in this website, together with the technique to solve it.

If you enjoy this type of logic quiz, my new book TKL Intelligence Quiz Vol 3 has been released. Vol 1 and 2 have been sold out. You can buy Vol 3 at the major bookstores ($7.90). The book contain the tips and 72 puzzles (24 puzzles at each of 3 level).

You can also buy this book or other books at this website and enjoy a discount of 15% when you enter the promotion code - BLOG (valid until 28 February 2010). Many secondary and tertiary students enjoy this type of logic puzzles as it helps to train their logical mind.

To order, click here.

Tan Kin Lian

Social insurance

Some types of insurance cannot be operated on a private basis, e.g. unemployment insurance and health insurance, due to the problem of underwriting. Some people will not be able to have access to insurance due to their higher risk factors, e.g. certain types of occupation or poor health.

These insurances have to be operated by the state (through social insurance) and is made compulsory for every eligible person. There is no need for underwriting, as everybody is covered for the standard benefits,which are  usually provided at a basic level. The insured people pay a premium that meet a major portion of the cost and any deficit is usually funded through tax revenue.

There are significant savings in operating a social insurance scheme, as there is no marketing and underwriting expenses. There is lower administrative expenses. The saving in cost can amount to 30% to 40% of the premium that would be charged by a private insurer for a similar set of benefits.

It is possible for a state scheme to be abused but this can be controlled - as it would be a crime to cheat the state. A state scheme may be operated inefficiently, but this can be properly managed.

It is better for the basic needs of the people to be provided by social insurance and for the private sector to provide additional benefits on top of the state benefits.

Tan Kin Lian

Giving up an existing investment-linked policy

Dear Mr Tan,
I currently have an investment link life policy. I calculate my loss to be $6000. I decide to surrender this policy and take up term insurance. Is my decision to surrender this policy a wise choice? Should I buy the term insurance from Aviva or NTUC?

Normally, it is better to continue an existing policy, rather than to terminate it, as you have already incurred the upfront cost. However, you should look at the continuing cost, before you take your decision.

I suggest that you ask both Avivia and NTUC Income to give you a quote for the term insurance. You can compare the premium rates and make your decision based on the facts.

You can get more guidance from my book, Practical Guide on Financial Planning. It can be bought here:

Switching to a new policy with special benefits

Sometimes, a new life insurance product is introduced with an additional benefit, such as the waiver of premium during retrenchment.  This type of rider usually has small print to restrict the entitlement to the benefit, such as circumstances of retrenchment or the waiting period.

While the value of this type of rider is debatable, it should not be used as a reason for a policyholder to terminate an existing policy to switch to this new policy. The policyholder will incur a large loss on the existing policy by making this switch, and will have to pay the upfront cost again on the new policy.

Switching policies is a costly exercise and should be avoided. An ethical agent will not give this type of wrong or harmful advice to their customers.

Tan Kin Lian

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Home: our planet Earth

Here is a 90 minute video about the earth and the need to protect our environment.

SCMP: Government may compete for insurance. Government may vie for insurance business. Proposal aims to keep private firms 'honest' in volunteer medical plan

17 Feb 2010
The government is considering setting up its own insurance company to compete for the proposed voluntary medical insurance scheme in an effort to keep the existing players "honest".

A government official said such a "public option" could ensure there was real competition in the market, to guard against price-fixing. But the official said the government did not plan to turn its new programme into a social insurance scheme with itself as the sole provider.

The proposal will be put forward during negotiations with the insurance industry over the voluntary insurance scheme, which is part of the coming health care reforms.

The government will launch a public consultation later this year about the voluntary scheme, which it sees as a way to relieve the financial pressures on the heavily subsidised public health sector.

Insurance providers are in talks with health officials about the scope of the coverage, and on how to use the scheme's HK$50 billion start-up fund to attract more people to sign up for voluntary insurance.

The South China Morning Post reported last week that the issue of whether patients with pre-existing conditions will have to pay a higher premium has emerged as the major roadblock in the negotiations.

Now the government "does not rule out the possibility" of setting up a subsidiary insurance company to compete with the private insurers. There are concerns among officials that, as the six biggest companies control 80 per cent of the medical insurance market, they could easily co-operate to control the market and push up prices.

"To keep the insurance companies honest, the government may set up a company to compete with them so if their prices are too high, consumers can choose the public option," the official said. The insurance company set up by the government would run on "commercial principles", he said.

But Chan Kin-por, the insurance sector legislator, criticised the idea. "The government is not good at insurance services. It should leave it to the private sector I can't see the extra benefits in doing it. There will be a transparent mechanism on premium adjustment in future, to guard against any possible cartels."

But Peter Tam Chung-ho, executive director of the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, said the industry "would not feel threatened" by the public option. "It will be good to have more competition in the market {hellip} but we need to know the details before commenting further, such as if the company will operate on commercial principles or with a public subsidy," he said.

In a recent submission to the government, the insurance sector outlined an agreed "basic plan" that removes exclusions for mental illnesses and congenital diseases, and makes premiums age-specific. But the sector is standing firm on not including people with pre-existing conditions in the basic plan, meaning chronically ill patients would have to pay a higher premium for coverage.

The insurance sector has called on the government to use some of the HK$50 billion start-up fund to subsidise the higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. But the government official said that was unacceptable.

"The purpose of insurance is to share risk: what is the point of selecting only the healthy people in the pool? Before asking the government to commit to any subsidy, the insurance companies have to do their work in cost control first," the official said.

The government has also, for the first time, revealed some key ingredients for a "basic" voluntary medical scheme:

Clear, standard coverage and benefits large enough to pay for medical services in the private sector; Standardised claims structure providing packaged benefits for certain kinds of operations or illnesses, for higher transparency and predictability, such as fixed compensation for operations and hospital stays; Transparent premium adjustment mechanism; Savings element to encourage people to get prepared for their future medical expenses;

Various incentives to encourage policyholders to stay with their plans. For example, insurance companies should not terminate plans after claims or policyholders' retirement, and should provide no-claim benefits and discounts for those who enrol with the plan earlier; 
Insurance companies must share risks with each other through reinsurance; 
Patients will be required to pay part of the medical bills to avoid abuse of services;
Insurance coverage is limited to local medical expenses only. 

The official said the move by the insurance sector to remove exemptions for mental or congenital diseases has very limited benefit for the overall population. "People suffering from these diseases make up a very small portion of the population. Only a very small number of mental patients require hospital care and there is no such service in the private sector," the official said.

Difficult to cross Singapore roads

Singapore roads are wide. Vehicles travel quite fast, unless they are caught in a jam. It is difficult to cross the roads, especially for older people. The overhead bridges and traffic lights are not conveniently located and require a long walk.

The former athlete, Tan Eng Yeow, was knocked down and killed while crossing Upper Thomson Road, close to where I lived previously.

I prefer the traffic situation in Vancouver. In the city, there is a low speed limit. Most vehicles travel slowly. The drivers are courteous.

Toxic products and traffic control

Someone told me an interesting analogy.

The Authority allowed the toxic products to be sold but require the issuer to put into a statement into the prospectus, "This product carries risk. You may lose some or all of your money".

It is similar to making a statement, "If you are on the road, you may be knocked down by a vehicle". After making this statement, the Authority does not need to control the behavior of the drivers and the vehicles on the road, i.e no need for traffic controls, rules or their enforcement. After all, the Authority has discharged its responsibility by giving the warning.

Tan Kin Lian

Switching between guaranteed and investment linked returns

Over the past years, insurance agents have earned high commissions by getting their policyholders to switch from guaranteed to investment-linked returns and back again.

When the stock market is hot, they tell their customers to move to investment-linked returns by enticing them with high projected values (which were not guaranteed). When the stock market fell, they tell their customers to move back to guaranteed returns.

Each time that the customer took the advice to make a switch, the insurance agents earn a high commission on the new policy that was sold. The customers were not aware that they were exploited and given poor financial advice. They were "taken for a ride", time and again.

An ethical agent will advice the customer to stick to the existing policies. They can invest additional savings in the new policy, rather than move the entire savings from an existing policy to a new policy.

If you have been misled by an agent using this technique in the past, you can send an email to

Tan Kin Lian

Watching EPL in 2010

Singtel will take over the broadcast of the English Premier League in 2010 for 3 years. Soccer fans have to switch over to the Mio platform. Many homes will have to run two sets of cables to watch the TV channels provided by Singtel and Starhub. This is a costly and wasteful exercise.

Starhub has offered to run the EPL channels for free. I hope that Singtel will accept this offer and save the subscribers the hassle of running a new set of cables. It was also save Singtel the headache of handling large numbers of subscriptions, which is likely to lead to technical and customer service issues.

Here are the results of a survey carried out a few weeks ago. Among the soccer fans, 61% will switch over to Singtel but 39% will give up their sports subscriptions. 77% prefer that the EPL channels be made available on both platforms.

Tan Kin Lian

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Resort World Sentosa

If you visited Resort World in Sentosa during the past few days, please share your experience here.

I have received a few negative comments, i.e. the resort is patronized mainly by foreign workers. Singaporeans are deterred by the $100 entrance fee.

REX mentioned that it is uncomfortable and hot to watch the shows in Universal Studio. I am surprised that the shows are performed outside. The heat is likely to deter visitors. We already had failures in Haw Par Villa, Tang Dynasty City and other theme parks - did not not learn from our past experience?

Someone circulated an e-mail with an image of the Straits Times photo, showing many visitors lying down at the entrance. He asked if this is a resort or a refugee camp?

Perhaps, we can have some positive comments?

Gift for mothers of new born babies

If you have a friend or colleague who has just delivered a baby, the ideal gift is a fashionable and comfortable baby pouch. You can order it here, to be delivered to the mother directly.

Financial Planning book available at bookstores

My book "Practical Guide on Financial Planning" is now available at the major bookstores and at Seven Eleven outlets. The retail price is $12.

You can order the book at Internet Shop at a discount of 15% (Promotion code - BLOG) during February. The discount also applies to other books (e.g. Public Transport Guide, Shape Quiz, Intelligence Quiz, Logic9)  and the rechargeable torchlight.

It is easy to order online, as the shop front only displays a few books. There is no need to search for them. Payment can be made by internet banking transfer, PayPal or ATM.

Draft letter to MAS on Mini-bond settlement

I suggest that the investors send this letter by fax or mail to MAS:


Managing Director
Monetary Authority of Singapore
10 Shenton Way MAS Building
Singapore 079117
By Fax: 6229-9229

Minibond – Series XX

Dear Sir,
I am a holder of the Mini-bond Series XX. My particulars are:

Name: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Certificate Number: xxxxxxxxxxx
Amount invested: $xxxxxxxxxx

I have received a letter from the Trustee of the above Notes informing me about the liquidation of the Notes as follows:

Fee to LBSF: xxx%
Fee to liquidator: xxxx%
Legal fee: xxxx%
Residual value to Note holder: xxx%

I wish to ask for the assistance of the Authority to request the Trustees to clarify the following:
1) What is the authority on which the Turstees have acted to liquidate the above Notes?
2) Why did the Trustee fail to call for a meeting of the Note holders to discuss the above action?
3) Who decided on the fee to be paid to LBSF? How is the payment of this fee in the interesst of the Note holders?
4) As a Note holder, am I legally bound to accept the action that you have taken to liquidate the Notes without my approval?

I wish to ask for for your assistance to get the Trustee to convene a meeting of the Note holders for the above Series, so that these issues can be discussed and the appropriate explanation given to us.

E-mail address

Draft letter to Trustee of Minibond

I have prepared a draft letter for the Mini-bond investor to sebd by fax to the Trustee, HSBC. You have to change the letter to contain the details that is relevant to your case. So far, 31 investors have provided their particulars to me, asking for collective action to be taken. I will be e-mailing them to take this action.

If you have changed the draft to suit your circumstance, please send it to I will share the draft with other investors (after removing your personal particulars)


HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) Limited, 
21 Collyer Quay, #14-01 HSBC Building, 
Singapore 049320
By Fax: 65331077

Minibond – Series XX

Dear Sir,
I am a holder of the Mini-bond Series XX. My particulars are:

Name: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Certificate Number: xxxxxxxxxxx
Amount invested: $xxxxxxxxxx

I have received a letter from you, as the Trustee of the above Notes, informing me about the liquidation of the Notes as follows:

Fee to Lehman Brother Special Financing (LBSF): xxx%
Fee to liquidator: xxxx%
Legal fee: xxxx%
Residual value to Note holder: xxx%

I wish to ask for your clarification on the following:
1) What is the authority on which you have acted to liquidate the above Notes?
2) Why did you fail to call for a meeting of the Note holders to discuss the above action?
3) Who decided on the fee to be paid to LBSF? How is the payment of this fee in the interesst of the Note holders?
4) As a Note holder, am I legally bound to accept the action that you have taken to liquidate the Notes without my approval?

I wish to ask for you, as the Trustee, to convene a meeting of the Note holders for the above Series, so that these issues can be discussed and the appropriate explanation given to us.

E-mail address

Fee to swap counter party on Mini bond

First posted on 11 Feb 2010

If you wish to join in a collective action to ask the trustee to explain why they paid a large fee to the counter party to unwind the Mini bond, please give your particulars here. I will need some investors to volunteer to take the lead in this collective action.

Total of 31 people replied up to 16 Feb. The response has been quite poor. Nobody volunteered to take the lead.

Needs and Wants

In financial education, the consumer has to distinguish between Needs and Wants.

Needs are those that have to be met. They are compulsory and cannot be avoided. Wants are those that are discretionary.

Needs - to pay tax, school fees, to have meals, transport.
Wants - toys, entertainment.

What do you consider to be Needs and what are Wants? Do you have any interesting story to tell about real life experiences?

Logic9 (pocket size Sudoku)

Someone sent me a message on Facebook asking for the Logic9 (pocket size Sudoku) that was sold by NTUC Income a few years ago. Volume 3 and 4 are now available here. This is a handy size and is convenient for you to pass the time bus, train or plane.

Switching to a limited payment whole life policy

In the past, many people bought a whole life insurance policy. It provides life insurance cover for the whole of life and requires the premium to be paid for the whole of life. It has an option for the policyholder to terminate the policy and receive the cash value, or to stop the premium payment and receive a paid up value (payable on death). This option is usually exercised at an older age, when the policyholder has retired from work.

Take a hypothetical example. The policyholder insures for $100,000 and pays an annual premium of $2,000. After 30 years, he can terminate the policy and receive a cash value of (say) $75,000. Alternatively, he can stop the premium payment and continue the policy for a paid-up value of (say) $95,000, inclusive of bonus. The paid up value is payable on death.

Some insurance agents are unethical. They approach their existing policyholder and tell them that their company has introduced a new whole life policy that requires to be paid for only 20 years. They advice the policyholder to terminate an existing whole life policy and take up the new policy. They did not tell the policyholder that the existing policy already has the option to convert the policy into a paid up policy at any time.

If the policyholder is presented with a proper analysis of both options, the policyholder would have found that it is better to continue with the existing policy. However, the policyholder is usually presented with misleading advice to switch to the new policy. This bad advice is in the self-interest of the agent and is against the interest of the consumer. The insurance agent is able to earn a large commission  on the new policy that has been sold.

If you have been given this type of wrong advice, you can write to me at

Tan Kin Lian

Monday, February 15, 2010

All in the Family

Here is an article about Asia's political dynasties.

Economic strategies committee - real change or just words?

Read this article by Dr. Wong Wee Nam. I share his view that we should not continue to follow the strategies that do not seem to work. We need new approaches, rather than keep repeating the same nice words.

Cut working week to 21 hours

Read this report in the BBC. I agree with the general thrust of the suggestion, i.e. that people should work fewer hours and earn less, so that more people can be employed and older workers can continue to work longer. This will give a better balance and improve the quality of life.

We do not need to go all the way down to 21 hours, but 35 hours would be a good start.

In Singapore, many people are putting in 60 hour weeks. Instead of working fewer hours with higher productivity, we are working longer hours. This is why we have one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

Alex Tan's talk at Speaker's Corner

About 20 people (including TKL) turned up at Speaker's Corner. This was rather disappointing. Most Singaporeans are apathetic and will take the trouble to show their support for causes that they believe in, e.g. the need for change to our policies in Singapore.

Alex Tan gave a good speech. He said that it would be reported in Temasek Review. He intended to give a weekly speech at Speaker's Corner at 5 p.m. (most probably on Saturday afternoon).

I met Alex Tan for the first time today at Speaker's Corner. He had asked for my help earlier to publicize the event in my blog (which I agreed).

Alex Tan also organised a Facebook group on the need to make a change in the political system in Singapore. It attracted over 1,000 fans.

Update: A video of Alex Tan's speech is now available here.

Slow start for Integrated Resort in Sentosa

The newspapers reported that there was a long queue in the foreigner entrance and a short queue in the local entrance for the integrated resort. I thought that it meant a successful start for the resort.

A friend told me that the people in the foreigner queue were not tourists but the foreign workers in Singapore. They went to the resort to enjoy the free drinks, cheap meals, showers and new facilities.  Few Singaporeans went to the resort as they were deterred by the $100 entrance fee.

Something is wrong. The expensive facilities are now enjoyed by the foreign workers, and not for Singaporeans. This is an unintended consequence.

Of course, this is early days, and the discrepancies will be sorted out. But, it is a bad sign. Surely, we are capable of better planning in Singapore?

It is quite sad that I could be misled into the wrong impression. I hope that the newspapers would be more upfront in giving the correct impression.

Tan Kin Lian

Minimum wage and cost of living

Several people have argued that a minimum wage will increase the cost of living further. This is true, but the impact will not be as large as feared.

Wages is only a part of the total cost of business operations. The other costs are rental, government levies and profit margin. Many workers now earn more than the minimum wage, so the increase in wage cost will only apply to the workers who now earn less than the minimum wage. This increase will not be significant for most businesses, except those that depend on low income workers.

Even if the wage cost increases, the price charged to consumers may not increase to the same extent. Businesses have to meet competitive pressures. If they are squeezed, they will have to pay lower rental on their business premises and reduced profit margin. The increase in wages will be partly offset by the reduction in these other costs.

In countries with a minimum wage, the property prices are at a more reasonable level (in relation to average earnings) compared to countries with wide disparity of income.

A minimum wage policy reduces the disparity of incomes and will lead to a more fair and stable society, which will lead to better long term growth.

Tan Kin Lian

Speaker's Corner - Singaporeans vs Foreigners


Hi Mr Tan Kin Lian
 I will be conducting a speech on the topic "Singaporeans" at the Speaker's Corner on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year.

Date and Time: 15 February 2010 5 pm

Your support would be highly honored and appreciated.

Yours sincerely
Alex Tan

Minimum wage and cost of a maid

Some people argued for a minimum wage to be implemented in Singapore. REX argued against it, stating that the cost of a maid would increase to $1,500 a month, if a minimum wage is applied here.

I do not think that a minimum wage need to be as high as suggested by REX. It could be set at $1,000. If we consider the wages, government levy, food and lodging provided to a maid, most employers are already paying close to $1,000 a month.

If we pay a higher wage for a maid, we will get a better quality maid, which may be better in the long run. There is also a high cost in replacing a maid. Under the current system, many employers have to replace the maid quite often and suffer this additional cost.

We should not allow the higher cost of employing a maid affect our thinking towards paying a decent wage to other workers in Singapore who need to earn enough to pay for the high cost of living in Singapore.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Welfare in Singapore

Read the views in the Singapore Mind blog, and also the article by Economist magazine.

A nice name for big gambling

When you place your chips on a specific color (i.e. red or black) in a roulette game at a casino, you are gambling. The bigger the stake, the bigger is the gamble. You can gamble all of the money that you have in one bet. If you win, you win big. If you lose, you lose all.

Gambling is considered to be bad, especially if the bet is big and a loss may lead to financial ruin.

In recent years, banks have been gambling big, very big, to the tune of billions of dollars. They can bet on currency rates or on the chance of failures of any corporation. The types of bets have proliferated under the name of financial engineering and innovation. In some cases, they can gamble large amounts representing the capital of their shareholders and the deposits of their customers as well.

When the banks make these gambles, they do not call it a gamble. They call it by more respectable names, such as "trading:" or "risk management".

Gambling is bad, if the stakes are high and may cause financial ruin. It is bad for individuals. It is bad for businesses. It is bad for banks.

Tan Kin Lian

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