"It cannot be that I invested and it turned out well, then I'm happy, but if I invested and it turned out badly, then I am entitled to compensation" - PM Lee
"Sir, nobody is asking for compensation simply because it turned out bad. They are asking for compensation because of mis-selling" - Lucky Tan
"Treasury markets have also stayed buoyant, as Singapore remains one of the established leading global FX trading centres. The creation and hedging of structured products have boosted turnover in derivative markets. Singapore now ranks 6th globally, in OTC FX and interest rate derivatives"
- PM Lee, 2004 Speech on Liberalisation of Financial
PM Lee's interview with the Straits Times can be found here. You should read it thoroughly.
When Low Thia Kiang asked in parliament if the financial sector liberalisation resulted in a lack of regulation that allowed these products to enter Singapore and be sold to retail investors, he did not really get an answer from Lim Hng Kiang. If you want to know the answer, it is YES. In his interview with the Straits Times published yesterday, PM Lee reiterated his view that it is basically "Caveat emptor" ..." government should not be making decisions for individuals". His view is there is no need for more regulation for these structured products and it was okay that they were allowed into Singapore and that there is no need for further regulation is necessary to control these products. If you recall, many of these structured products were linked to CDS and CDOs the type of derivatives that caused the current financial meltdown - collapsing stock markets, severe recession, credit crunch, near collapse of the financial system and hundreds of billions of tax payers money around the world to bailout the system. Here we have the Prime Minister saying that there is no need to regulate these products that almost caused the collapse of the financial system and wiped out the lifesavings of thousands of Singaporeans. I wonder how high is his ivory tower is to give a view like that!? It took the HK govt a few days to realise they have blundered and that regulation has to be tightened to further protect investors [Link]. Many countries have regulation that prevented the minibonds from entering their market. Even Malaysian regulators managed to sieve out these products preventing them from causing harm to Malaysians. It is not hindsight to realise that these products were bad...
It took PM Lee one whole month to say something about this matter and what he said was simply disappointing. Again what we see is denial, 'do nothingness', 'can't do better' ....and for that we paid the this govt the highest salary in the world.