Saturday, October 18, 2008

Structured Products : List of questions for Parliament

Monday's parliament sitting will discuss the current crisis and structured products.
SM Goh is the man who will answer the questions . ...I hope for his own sake he does not utter those 2 words "that's life" otherwise this will be as well remembered as his wife's p-word.
Yesterday's statement from MAS urging the "banks to do the right thing" marks a turning point for ths govt on this issue. They have already laid down expectations for the banks to compensate those who are vulnerable and clearly been mis-sold these products. They must have realised that this matter has to be handled with greater urgency given the petition, turnout at Hong Lim and of course the actions of the Hong Kong govt.

The investors only want 2 things - they want the truth to be established and justice to be done at the end of the day. For the truth to emerge, banks have to be investigated and MPs are asking if the MAS plans to do this and what is the exact nature of such a probe. Once the truth is established justice will follow.

I'm sure SM Goh will be quite careful with his answers. Given the initial govt response on this matter has been highly reactive, I think they understand it is time to jump ahead of the curve and show leadership. This is the People's Action Party - they act in the best interests of the people...and the people now want some action. Action please!

Dr Lily Neo:

(a) to what extent are Singaporeans affected by the collapse of American financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers;
(b) how many Singaporeans are losing their savings as a resultof this crisis; and
(c) what are the safeguards, if any, to protect Singaporeans' savings in financial institutions and insurance companiesfrom similar financial turmoil.
Mdm Halimah Yacob: To ask the Senior Minister
(a) how does theMonetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) supervise financial institutions operating in Singapore to ensure that they fully comply with the regulatory framework requiring disclosures and proper business conduct when they market investment products to retail investors;
(b) whether the existing laws and regulations are adequate to protect retail investors against suchhigh-risk investment products;
(c) whether MAS will be initiating any investigations into the conduct of financial institutions to ensure that theyhave conducted themselves appropriately when marketing and selling toretail investors; and
(d) what more can be done to enhance safeguards forthese investors.
Mdm Cynthia Phua: To ask the Senior Minister
(a) how does the MonetaryAuthority of Singapore (MAS)
  • (i) safeguard the interest of the man-in-the street to ensure that they are aware of the complexity and high risk natureof the financial products they are investing in; and
  • (ii) regulate banks and finance companies in the sale of high-risk and complex structured financial instruments so as to safeguard the capital sum invested by the man-in-the-street;

(b) whether MAS will be able to provide the number ofSingaporeans who lost their high-risk investments following the closure of the Lehman Brothers in the US; and

(c) whether MAS will require banks to determine the risk tolerance and ensure that the contracted terms and conditions are understood by potential investors before the sale of suchproducts.

Mr Low Thia Khiang: To ask the Senior Minister

(a) whether the MonetaryAuthority of Singapore (MAS) will investigate how structured products linked to Lehman Brothers were marketed; and

(b) if there is any misrepresentation, whether MAS will assist the affected investors in negotiating with the banks to ensure fair treatment for these investors.

Er Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Senior Minister

(a) what are the terms of reference for the three independent consultants appointed by the financia linstitutions to look into the investors' complaints;

(b) what are the procedures to ensure that future investors are not misinformed about highrisk financial products; and

(c) whether he is able to provide the information on how many of those who invested in these structured products linked to Lehman Brothers were elderly people or retirees.

Mr Siew Kum Hong: in view of the public concerns on the sale of structured products

(a) what are the principles followed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in regulating financial institutions;

(b) whether MAS is investigating the allegations thatfinancial institutions have misrepresented and missold structured productsto the public and, if so, what is the status of such investigations; and

(c) why did MAS not appoint the three individuals reviewing certain financial institutions’ internal processes, instead of leaving them to be appointed bythe financial institutions and thereby permitting possible perceptions ofconflicts of interests.

Mr Gautam Banerjee: To ask the Senior Minister whether more can be done to

(i) improve the level of communication and disclosure particularly on credit and market risk when complicated structured investment productsare sold to ordinary investors; and

(ii) provide comprehensive product and ethics training to those marketing complicated structured products to retail investors.


Sgcynic said...

Teacher, teacher, I know the answer to Mr Siew Kum Hong's third question: "why did MAS not appoint the three individuals reviewing certain financial institutions’ internal processes, instead of leaving them to be appointed bythe financial institutions and thereby permitting possible perceptions ofconflicts of interests."

"Because, if I appoint, I pay, they appoint, they pay. I'm saving taxpayer's money. This justifies another round of pay rise for me."

Anonymous said...

Teacher, teacher .... Why no MP is asking the 2 most important questions : "Why did MAS allowed/approve such complex risky structured products to be sold to the retail investors in the first place" ? "Was there a breach of duty in their lack of due diligence" ?

Cos if MAS didn't allow these sharks into our waters, this saga will not have happened in the first place.

Teacher, teacher ... "Why our world-class MPs with first-class salaries dunno how to ask these 2 important questions that primary school kids also know ?".

Hah I know ! "Because, this is only wayang show in Parliament lah ... they not really stupid but dare not ask their godfather why he slept on the job & forgot to do duty. Why ? if not, kanna sacked".

Anonymous said...

I guess the tone for the Lehman's related products has been set. Just as importantly, I think MAS should conduct a full review of other similar products and advise the public soonest before more people are affected.

jason said...

Hi. to 1st 2 commenters. I believe now is not the time to be pointing fingers and asking questions as to who is to blame, why wasn't this done before etc etc. To me, these are the stupid questions. More pertinent is what should be done for pple affected and what is the govt or MAS going to do now and what can be done to prevent this from happening EVER. After these questions are answered, then should the taunting and finger pointing please.i doubt whether you are really concerned about your fellow citizens

Anonymous said...

Yep, we should not politicised the issue.

Actually, that is the only thing PAP is afraid and only this will they react.

Naive Singaporeans still don't understand how PAP works.

Their ambition to be the only political party in Singapore is the only reason for their actions. Get real, it's not about advancing your welfare. That is only a side product.

Once Singaporeans understand this, there is hope for the nation.