Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No protest please, we're Singaporeans.

A group of DBS High Notes holders planned to organise a sit in at DBS' Shenton Way office. They have been warned by the police that it is against the law and action will be taken against them if they went ahead with it. Well, I thought mis-selling was also against the law...but nevermind...more on that later. What is legal in Hong Kong which is now under the rule of communist China is illegal in Singapore......20% electricity tariff hike, you just have to swallow it, lost your lifesavings, you just have to accept it. We are living in Singapore a lawful, orderly country where citizens are expected to obey the law, wait patiently for things to be to be done for them and trust that those in authority will act in their best interest. If you want to protest, it has be in Hong Lim where it is contained and orderly ....and does not put the authorities under undue pressure to do something to help. The old argument that protests will cause foreign investors to flee, doesn't seem hold anymore because those investors come from countries where protests are held frequently and nobody seems to be fleeing from Hong Kong....and nobody is investing in N. Korea where there are no protests.

There is no need for protests IF govt responds to this issue with urgency and genuine empathy. If the authorities acted with much more sense of urgency, with the assurance that justice will be done, I think everyone would prefer to not to take matters into their own hand.

I read a few comments in my blog that mis-selling is "hard to prove". I don't think so....I think it is quite easily proven through affadavits from hundreds of investors, the past risk adverse behaviour of these investors and system of incentives the banks set up to sell these products. RMs were given quotas, motivated by commission and had their performance measured by the volume of sales...in particular, the sales of high margin structured products. If these things don't lead to mis-selling, they must have hired priests to be RMs.

Don't worry our system can still work to bring about justice. On Monday 20 Oct 2008, the parliament will convene and this is one of the issues tabled for discussion. It is time for your MP to work for you. Please provide your MP with your affadavits, and tell him or her that you will be watching this sitting of parliament closely. Mis-selling is as illegal as protests in Shenton Way in Singapore. If you have been mis-sold these products, a crime has been committed against you. The authorities cannot let a crime go unpunished especially so in a nation where the leaders are so proud their high integrity....


Anonymous said...

Has the Energy management authorities allowed for misselling of energy power / tarrifs to its citizens. why are we following the formula of pegging electricity to oil when our cost is based on price of Gas?

Revenue from The electric bills, is it used to pay for the cost of gas to Indonesia suppliers, or to enrich singapore power to reach every dizzying heights of profits in this downtime?

Is the government going to change the unfair pricing structure soon? Or does people need to turn up at Hong Lim to register our frustrations again?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky, thanks for writing this so CLEARLY:

"If you want to protest, it has be in Hong Lim where it is contained and orderly ....and does not put the authorities under undue pressure to do something to help."

The above statement is something Singaporeans failed to understand.

The PAP doesn't like protest because they love to shake legs and collect money for themselves and use tax payers money for scholarships for their children.

If the father earns $3 million dollars a year, why do you need scholarship from tax payers money for your child to go overseas Uni?

Please Singapore wake up before we reach the point of NO RETURN


Economist with a Heart :)

Daniel Tan said...


How would you react to DBS´s divide-and-conquer strategy?

DBS has said it would take responsibility if customers are able to give evidence of mis-selling in relation to products affected by the collapse of Lehman Brothers on a case-by-case basis.

Whatever success all collective efforts Singaporeans had put up was because we have unity.

By loosing that unity, we will loose the ability to challenge financial institutions.

Once you loose that ability, you, your friends and your affiliates will loose all your money.

Don´t be a fool.

It is also extremely stupid to continue to keep your money in the very same bank that you had perceived to cheat you, your friends and/or your family.

You may even get you a better deal elsewhere in Singapore. Maybank offers 0.5% higher interest for their current accounts.

Transferring all your funds from DBS/POSB to another local bank is legal, yet at the same time it can be used to effect the pressure a Sit-In protest can achieve, and even more.

Anonymous said...

Even if the local banks found themselves short of propriety, would the RMs be the one that suffer? I say the RMs better pick a side and start whistle-blowing on how they told to do pressure selling.

Mas Salamat is one good example of how it will pan out, negligence of oversight at the top became the fault of rank-and-file not doing job properly. See that the big guy don't get away with this. Pay up DBS!

Anonymous said...

There's no legislation protecting whistleblower in Singapore, unlike other 'democratic' countries...

And unlike other democratic countries, where such legislation simply brought about more frivilous claims in a litigious society. Singapore's efficient and clean (corporate) governance is free from fraud, malpractise or corruption. Thank goodness!

Gila Babi said...

I simply can't understand what is DBS's reasoning in not doing anything but to push the blame to the RMs. So what if DBS has to pay up? Eevryone makes mistakes, big or small. Own up and compensate the investors. This will only raise their standing in people's eyes. Same for MAS and our govt - if they take action to make compensation available to the investors then or to guarantee the capital of the investments (like what other govts in the "deveoped countries" are doing) then yes, they will look good in people's eyes. But by resolutely refusing to do anything and basically say to the investors "you go and die i also don't care" just generates ill feeling against them. What? Don't these people even know basic PR? What reason is there left to come up with - all govts in G7 are already guranteeing deposits of individual investors. After all what is DBS or the govt going to lose? A few million dollars? That's peanuts, man.

Anonymous said...

While everyday s'poreans and mum and dad investors are suffering, Lee Snr. and Little Lee have decided to give themselves millions in between them courtesy of our wise courts and the Chees.

Anonymous said...

I am not investing anymore in any financial products that the banks offer.

Seeing how those minibond investors had been treated had opened my eyes to the lack of consumer protection in singapore.

CASE, our consumer watchdog, is also doing nothing to help.

Alan Wong said...

To those Investors who lost their savings buying minibonds from DBS Bank :

Do you think your MP really care when DBS Bank doesn't give a hoot about your losses ?

Literally, nobody pointed a gun at you when you were being hookwinked into buy any of their financial investments.

That's what they will tell you.

Anonymous said...

I really dislike it when people tell the misled investors that they deserve their fate for not being financially savvy enough.

It is like saying you deserve it when you get beaten to death because you didn't want to invest time in karate lessons.

Razorwindsg said...

Hmm, regarding miselling:

What I get from the OP is this:
1) Consumers who bought the products don't really need the products.

2) Salesman are strongly encouraged to sell high end products with strong commissions.

And this ends up in mis-selling.

So Taking the same look at where we are in Singapore:

It would mean
1) Insurance is always mis-sold. No one ever knows whether they need it. And most people don't. (If they do, insurance companies will never surive)

2) Houses and cars sold through agents are always mis-sold. This is as the agents always hold more information than the customer does. Which would surely mean the customer does not always get what he truly needs at the correct price.

3) Medicine is always mis-sold. Consumers might not always need the extra medication, and they don't understand what they are getting. And since doctors gain more when patients revisit, they will profit.

Thus, believing that ALL people love money, cat 1) 2) and 3) is always mis-sold.Is it true?

I find that the 2 qualifying statements offered by the OP does not really convince me to show that the banks have been miselling.

Merely having the incentive does not make one guilty. It would be nice if a person had $10billion, but does it make him guilty or robbing the bank?

Affadavits are still one of the weakest type of evidence one can ever submit to courts. I do sincerely hope the legal representatives or the group of victims in Singapore does much better than that to fight its case.

I do *think some mis-selling have taken place. I just feel the current victims are not doing enough or doing things effectively to fight for their case. Or their legal representatives are just mugging them of even more money.
(Heh, some logic, have they mis-sold?)

Anonymous said...

Razorwind are you a troll? Because you sound too stupid to be true.

Do you like a bargain? I do! Imagine the extra interest investor got as a discount on offer (it is the same idea in principle, think of it as a discount but deferred).

I mean who wouldn't be interested in getting a good deal? But did investors really got a good deal? Was anyone being honest about what was sold?

Anonymous said...

With reference to Mas Selamat's case, the small frys are responsible, not the minister. Likewise, RMs are responsible in this case and should be punished, not DBS Management or MAS. Fire all of them. In a few months' time, all will be forgotten and everything will be rosy again :)

yamizi said...


I think it is spelt as affidavit instead.

Affidavit only tells your side of story. Whether or not is it believed is for the courts to decide.

yamizi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Who's going to Save Us said...

Hi RazorwindSg,

It's pretty easy for you to argue from that angle of banks not mis-selling / mis-rep when you have not invested any money in the affected investments. I wonder would you have said the same thing if you had invested.

Anyway, you failed to mentioned about the past investment history of the affected investors (cleverly omitted by you eh, so smart). If the investors all along had invested in high risk investments, I believe they should not be compensated. However, for those aunties / housewives / retirees who had previously only deposited their monies in fixed deposits. I believe this group of people should be compensated.

I don't know why it's called Mini-(BONDS) and High (NOTES) in the product brochure. If you asked me without reading the prospectus, I would have simply assume it's a product dealing in LOW RISK bonds or slightly higher risk COMMERCIAL NOTES. Now, RazorwindSg, Don't be so condescending when you're fellow Singaporeans are in a pinch. I hope you have a more compassionate heart in future. Well, decision is still up to you. A famous philosopher once said, "I may disagree with what you said, but I'll defend to the death your RIGHT to say it!" Someone save us....please.

Anonymous said...

If a doctor prescribes 'medicines' that contain 'formaldehyde' and 'melamine', even with when they are listed as ingredients, do you think it's fair in anyway to blame the patient just because he didn't do his research that formaldehyde is cancer-causing agent, or that melamine can cause kidney stones, and especially when the doctor, abusing his authority as a 'trained-personnel', assures him that the medicines are safe with 'low probability of negative effects'?

Singaporean Abroad said...

Aiya! Singaporean citizens are so capable, so hardworking, so motivated - they can succeed anywhere. Just pack up and migrate - so many countries eager to have us. Let the idiots who chose to stay behind and serve their imperial mandarin masters stay behind!!

Gila Babi said...

Have a look at the most recent ST article (online title: "$100,000 life savings gone" )which is a clear case of biased reporting! Here the section:

" Mrs Amy Loh invested $25,000 in High Notes 5, funds she had earmarked while between jobs. She told The Straits Times: 'What the relationship manager said was, 'Don't worry, this is very safe, even if one entity (out of a basket of eight reference entities) fails, you still have seven.''

She was referring to the fact that High Notes 5 included a basket of seven other stocks - called reference entities - apart from Lehman.

But many investors did not understand that High Notes 5 had a 'first-to-default' clause. If one of the reference entities defaulted or went bankrupt - as in the case of Lehman - the entire structure unwinds, triggering a credit event. "

So clearly High Notes 5 is a 1st to dfefault structured product, not as the RM claimed. So, ST will blame the investor when it is clear that the RM must explain it to them, if the RM has any integrity at all!

What is the agenda of the govt and DBS? This is simply disgusting. OK so the total amount is $500 million. Is it that bad to guarantee this? If DBS in HK can do it, and the UK govt can do it to the tune of £1 billion for the 300,000 investors in the failed Icelandic bank, I don't see why our govt can't do it. After all the amounts of spare cash our govt has is legendary. If they don't use it now, then when? As of now they simply appear to be totally heartless - the you die i don't care i still have my high paying job and life mentality. And lets face it - the decision makers at DBS DO have VERY high paying jobs.