Thursday, November 13, 2008

Minibond Justice to be imported from Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Legco has approved a bill to conduct a public probe of Hong Kong banks that have been accused of mis-selling. I guess if the banks have nothing to hide and have very good processes in place to prevent mis-selling and mis-representation, they will probably welcome such a probe to show the publc they have not abandoned their fiduciary duty in pursuit of profits. The probe will help to establish the truth......not possible if customers go individually to the banks or FIDReC - they only have their own words vs the bank's words. Justice can come only after the truth is established. But in Singapore, our MM Lee whose words no one dare to contradict in the civil service has already said that those who are educated or young have gone in with their eyes open, they have knowingly taken high risks to get the returns...under the law it is 'case closed' and banks have been compensating people out of goodwill. After he said that, I assure you not a single public servant in the MAS will dare utter one word about probing the banks. No PAP MP or public servant will dare to say that the govt should do more. After they heard MM Lee, banks now have less motivation to compensate anyone other than the most vulnerable.

At the beginning of the fiasco, I said that Singaporeans are lucky that the same products were sold in Hong Kong. If this had happened only in Singapore, investors would simply be asked to suffer in pain and the Singapore govt would simply do nothing to help them seek a fair resolution. If you look at the statements by SM Goh ("that's life"), PM Lee and MM Lee ("went in with eyes open"), there is little doubt what is on the minds of our leaders. Because the Hong Kong leaders are willing to conduct public probes on the banks including DBS Hong Kong, we will get to know the conduct of the banks when they sold those products. The probe will require the banks to produce all internal documentation and communication which will reveal any systemic issues.

Singaporeans will get to know the truth because of the proactive stance of the HK govt. I used to think that integrity is something important to the PAP govt ....but how do you have integrity without a desire to seek the truth. The refusal of the PAP govt to do more in the minibond saga tells us a lot about how much the PAP values integrity.
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Called to account

Lawmakers will probe banks involved in the Lehman Brothers minibond saga.

By Diana Lee, Beatrice Siu and PaulMozur Thursday, November 13, 2008
Lawmakers will probe banks involved in the Lehman Brothers minibond saga.
Legislators across the political divide came together last night to pass a controversial motion to evoke the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance to investigate the minibond debacle.
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More than two-thirds of the 56 members present - 20 from the functional constituencies and 27 from the geographical constituencies - voted in support of the motion.
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Three functional constituency lawmakers voted against it and four abstained. Independent Regina Ip Lau Suk- yee was the only geographical constituency member to vote against it.
Raymond Ho Chung-tai, engineering-sector lawmaker and chairman of the Lehman minibond saga subcommittee, left the chamber during voting, which came after more than eight hours of debate with 37 legislators expressing their views.
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The Hong Kong Association of Banks last night said it respects the Legco decision and will cooperate with the investigation.
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A motion by Democrat Lee Wing-tat to ban banking-sector lawmaker David Li Kwok-po from voting as he had "direct pecuniary interest" was withdrawn after other pan-democrats showed disapproval.
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Li, in "mourning" in a black suit with white handkerchief, said he knew his attempt to persuade lawmakers to reject the motion would fail after the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong pledged to support the motion.
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Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai said closed-door meetings may be ar
ranged if sensitive issues are involved. Fellow party member Cheung Man-kwong said it is not uncommon for senior executives to answer questions in US congressional hearings, and nobody has questioned New York's status as an international financial center.
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"Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, of the League of Social Democrats, said turning down the motion would be tantamount to allowing banks a "black-box operation."

"When we are in a war, we need the best weapon," tourism sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said. "That's why we need the special power."
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DAB lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king said principal officials under the accountability system have so far refused to hold dialogue with the minibond investors, but found time to entertain bankers.
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen said he hoped the Legco probe will not delay measures tailored for Lehman investors, and will not have a negative impact of Hong Kong as an international financial center.
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As the motion was passed, around 60 investors of failed Lehman minibonds cheered and shook hands with legislators.
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Earlier, Liu Heung-loi, 61, kneeled down and wept outside the building, pleading with legislators to vote for the ordinance. Liu, who is illiterate, said she invested HK$300,000 in minibonds.
However, opinions remained divided as lawmakers voted. Peter Wong Yee- wai, executive director of the Lion Rock Institute, a free-market think-tank, said the probe would be a step backward in resolving the case.
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"Legislators are taking the role of the Judiciary and that's just not logical," he said.
"I cannot find any previous case in the common law world, so I think this is a very dangerous example if they go through with it."

15 comments:

yamizi said...

Our Hong Lim Park no more activities liao?

Anonymous said...

My concern - LKY indicated that if you want returns higher than fixed deposit - you go in with eyes open.

So if you contribute to CPF to earn 4 percent, does that imply unnecessary high risk?
Probably so - if our purchases include ABC learning centre, UBS shares etc etc.

So if you have not volunteered money into CPF - better don't start.

Anonymous said...

So what if the banks missold to you? You buay song, come and sue lah!

Come lah! Who scared of you?

Anonymous said...

After this...the Hong Lim Park will be renamed "Hong Kong" Park by those who went in with eyes open :)

Anonymous said...

You minibond and Lehman losers have no more money liao. So what if you will never forgive the banks?

You money no enough to sue. You money no enough to be priority customers.

The banks oredi move on liao. When will you move on?

Even LKY says the banks not wrong. Who are you to claim otherwise?

yamizi said...

知足常乐

Anonymous said...

I emphathise with those who lost money. I also lost money when I invest in stocks and IPOs. Nobody tell me that the stocks and IPOs I invest will fall in value. I wish somebody can bail me out too. In this age of bailouts, I wish MAS or the government can bail me out. It's their fault for letting companies that cannot make money to be listed and innocent people like me fell for the analysts' reports and buy. I was mis-sold!

Anonymous said...

If these minibond and lehman losers still vote for PAP come next GE, than they really losers, hahaha!

Anonymous said...

"how do you have integrity without a desire to seek the truth'.

Lucky Tan; I have just quoted a profound statement. You are good!

patriot

AlphavilleSG said...

知足常乐

In another form.

Happiness = Consumption/Desire

A clue on how to achieve Nirvana, reduce your desire to zero.

yamizi said...

alpha,

you cannot reduce your desire, you can only be selective at which desire is worth attaching

and once that desire is achieve, having the ability to detach that desire

that is 自在 =)

if zero desire = nirvana, i think stones and pebbles would have long achieved that already

Anonymous said...

If Hong Kong govt. found the banks guilty of mis-selling Minibonds (which is likely since the banks are so sacred of the open investigation), LKY will have to EAT HIS WORDS with his EYES OPEN ! Ha Ha !!! And so will the people in this blog who have laughed at the Minibobds victims !! We will have the last laugh !

AlphavilleSG said...

yamizi,

Just to cite a real life e.g., you have probably heard of Ajahn Brahms, he is a UK born (Cambridge educated physicist) convert to Buddhism in form practised by the forrest monks of Thailand, taught under Ajahn Chan.

He comes to Singapore on invites, give talks and spread his musing s(where youTube also provides). While interviewed in Singapore, he states that he owns nothing, except a passport, the robe he dons, and a watch, necessary to tell time. For lack of a better word, amazing!

When ask about the financial crisis, he replied typical in his ways, that he was just as happy as before, he hasn't loss a single cent since there was none to begin with! Unlike us of course, willing milk cows of capital markets. :)

So I guess there some truth in eliminating desire in pursuit of happiness.

Donaldson Tan said...

TKL is having a rally today at Speaker's Corner!

wincent said...

Besides the vibrant nightlife of singapore. The Arts and Entertainment Singapore has to offer is quite a lot too. Since I moved her 5 years ago, I must say I am pretty happy with the development in this area. Singaporeans aren't that stiff afterall.