Monday, November 10, 2008

MM Lee on Lehman Minibonds....

"But many went in with their eyes open. They're not old or uneducated. Now they are saying 'please include me too'. Well...we've got to go according to what's fair. "
- MM Lee 8 Nov 2008.
"Sir, you just gave the banks the license to systematically deny all claims of those who are young or educated" - Lucky Tan
"MM Lee added that if the authorities had handled the matter according to the law the cases would be 'closed'" - Straits Times 10 Nov 2008.
"Sir, since when mis-selling became legal in Singapore?" - Lucky Tan
In today's Straits Times article "Lehman Investors 'aware of risks'", MM Lee said that many who went into thses products did it with their eyes open. I wonder how he knows that - did the investors tell him that? Did he read the brochure/prospectus himself and found it easy to understand? What ever it is he knows, he has clearly expressed his belief most investors should accept their losses, keep their mouths shut and stop demanding the govt do more for them. To those who lost their hardearned guys were not expecting sympathy from him were you?
I would like to respond to his point that "if the matter was handled under the law, the cases would be closed". The banks have legally covered themselves by asking their customers to sign all sorts of disclaimers and piles of clauses that ensures they are able to fight you individually in court when the need arises. The poor bank customer won't have a lawyer with him usually signs the forms because he trusts the bank. In all the mis-selling cases[Link][Link] presecuted in the US or Britain you can be sure the customers too signed various forms. It is the regulator or AG that finds other types of evidence that prove mis-selling on the part of the companies involved to make it possible for customers to recover their funds. In Singapore's case, the govt has opted for a "case-by-case" approach and there are no direct investigations conducted on the banks. When MM Lee says these cases would be closed if laws are applied, that is because the govt does not proactively investigate the banks for mis-selling. This is difference in approach between the HK govt and the Singapore govt. You can judge for yourself when way leads to greater fairness and justice.
There is a also class action case in US against UBS for the mis-selling of minibonds. I can't imagine the situation in which most investors elsewhere get their money and those in Singapore are told "case closed".


Anonymous said...

Well, you choose to live in Singapore. So you have to take the rough with the smooth. Case close. Lets move on.

Anonymous said...

Questioning MM is akin to questioning God.

Questioning MM's wisdom is akin to saying he is a liar.

You wanna be sued for defamation by MM in a Singapore court?

LuckySingaporean said...

I question not his wisdom which is absolute. I'm asking everyone else to question theirs. There only 2 rules in Singapore.

Rule 1: MM Lee is right.
Rule 2: If you think you're right, refer to rule 1.

I'm also saying all the other countries USA, Britain, HK have inferior unwise laws compared with Singapore. There is not a single line in my post that says MM Lee is wrong. ...if I haven't say so he is absolutely right and if you're living in Singapore, you better know it!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky Tan,

your reply just made my day. Looking forward to more excellent insides from you. Thanks for voicing our concerns.


Sgcynic said...

Since the products are approved by MAS, they are legal. Since they they are legal, case closed. If you have a case, then it implies the products should not be approved in the first place. That would put MAS (and possibly the Ministry of Finance, which was then headed by LSL) in a very bad light. Now, we can't have that, can we?

Anonymous said...

MM Lee is a lawyer by training. Of course he is right.

If his is wrong - then his son, heading MAS would be wrong as Minister of finance, allowing structured product to be sold.

So, of course MM Lee is right.

Anonymous said...

If MM Lee says MAS is wrong in allowing these toxic products to be sold to the masses, he would be slapping his own son since LHL was the Finance Minister when these regulators were relaxed to let the banks do whatever they like.

So his comments does not come as a surprise, and cement the fact that Singapore is not really a democratic country but under the total control of his iron first rule !! He had put out the so-called communists ruthlessly in the 1950s but he is acting like a communist himself now!

Daniel Ling said...

ooo, this is new. Mis Selling is actually Correct...

Now who wans to buy a "Brand New" Ps2 for 500 Dollars? Current market price is 1k~~~

1 PIece only, while stocks last.

PS: Anyone can advise me how to get Straits Times articles online?

Anonymous said...

Today I learnt that if I am well-educated, that if I have some prior experience in investing, banks are legally entitled to mis-sell to me.

I learn something new everyday. Next time I go to the bank, I will say that I only have up to PSLE education.

Onlooker said...

Se nile Shi tizen madE man Leech think 5% return very high(se nile) but still manage to mismanage public fun thru a gambling daug in law.(Gambler)
Actually, of the people who got burned by minibond a lot of them bought it because of another reason too.
Do anyone still remember that investment infotainment/gameshow hosted but FT guo liang/Sinkie bryan wong on investment that is on primetime viewing before the incident broke a few year back.
And those thinly concealed commercial on those information show like jiao dian and money mind etc,etc.I remember quite a few (wise young money savers and how they will retire before 40, etc, etc) recommended bonds and investment tips then.
And If I remember correctly the answer to the question how much sinking fun investment in those risky products are recorded in those show and was on the PAPer too but then Who would care about my opinion.
Actually to tell the truth I'm not totally unaffected by that incident some of my friend and relative bought that "Guaranteed risk free financial products".
All I can say is helping people you know(friends and relative) financially can cause some minor frictions (quarrels, divorce ,etc etc) in this trying situation (recession) while it last.
But still it is better then seeing them bankrupt and do nothing to help.The first thing though is to cut the credit cards and stop spending asap.
We are not earning peanuts or millions you know.
PS do not expect the imports to help the economy too because now the situation have got to a point where any food left in pantries will be taken back home by the imports.
Switching to snicker/mars/granola bars in my locked desk mode.Coffee powder too switch to can drink in locked desk drawer too. sad :(
You would expect a highly trained S pass import not to stinge but the real fact is they do and they like free food so that they can send more money home.While currying favour..... and increasing your workload....
And those who cannot make it either return to homeland or go make bullsh it in another country so now manpower shortage.
They also conclude that they can't get more blood out of this host so they are jumping ship to other countries,esp mudland(lucky their govt smart enuf to implement the rule to limit the amount of F trash).

Wiki said...

Now you know why we the citizens cannot let PAP or the government to monopolise all welfare channels in Singapore. We have to build up community resilience to look out for ourselves when the PAP government says no.

Anyway, I am looking for volunteers to aid me in a community project - historical documentation of the Lehman Saga on Wikipedia. This history should be made available in the most accessible form to the general Singaporean community to remind Singaporeans that bankdits exists and government do not necessary care for its people.

Please contact me at if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Ling,

here's the url,

xizor2000 said...

Then shouldn't the person(s) who lost the town council(s)' monies ny investing in Lamer Bros be held responsible?

Who is the idiot who went in with his eyes open with OUR money? If he needs it, I'll supply him the katana and a glass bottle. He can then use the Padang to slit his yellow-belly and atone for his error, and I'll volunteer to place his bloody innards in the glass bottle.

Anonymous said...

What about PAP Town Councils who invested in the minibonds? Any comments from the old fart regarding this?

Anonymous said...

amazing that town councils can also act as 'fund manager' to invest excess funds contributed by residents into toxic derivative products.
if they did also invest with their eyes wide open, how come no one in that side is taking responsibility for the losses.

Great Banker Goh Chok Tong said...

Hi Singaporean folks,

I love it when you guys get screwed every now and then...

The HK chief executive gave ultimum to the banks to resolve the issue.

The Singapore Great Leader gave ultimum to the (hoodwinked) investors to suck thumb.

That's the difference. Except Lao Lee's Swiss bank account is swelling up faster than mine...hehe

Great Banker Goh Chok Tong

Anonymous said...

I think alot of investors are trying to capitalize on the issues and take opportunity to recover their lost. They are leaving behind a bad taste. When the investment makes money, no noise and keep the money. Lose money KPKB. Where go free lunch in the world? I also want.

kilroy said...

To 2.39am

Maybe, maybe not....seriously how many people really understood the product structure and the embedded and loaded risk...did you in all honesty? Come on...fine if you cannot empathise with those who got conned but please do not castigate all of those who were the victims of mis-selling.

Sgcynic said...

Just another proof of the disconnect between the ruling elite and the ruled. Whay can't the latter see things in [the former's] perspective? Know your place. Shut up and do as you are told. :(

Daniel Ling said...

One more Thing

I have totally learnt this lesson by heart AND i'll ensure that in this CRITICAL TIME when cost is RISING, while pay is NOT MOVING to ensure that i think 10 x 10 TIMES before i decide to buy anything. Although PM said tat Now is not the Time to Save, but MM say MUST EYES WIDE OPEN. So listen to MM better. Better SAFE then SORRY.

Btw, Dear MM, wat about the Town Councils who invested also? They very GREEDY, how? Can you help us pls?

DISCLAIMER: I agree with MM Lee. Just thought to remind him tat Town Councils got some also invested so see if he can help us regarding tat issue.

To Anonymous said... 8:38 PM
Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

in one way or another, are we also supposed to stop asking how much TC had lost???

Anonymous said...

I had the chance to stumble upon the workings of the Minibonds, and I was shocked at how they pulled this scam together and how our regulators cud have missed them. Minibonds Ltd was set up to mislead. They neither invested in bonds of the six reference banks nor Lehman. In fact the reference banks were, well, just reference banks. If this is not misselling, I dont know what is. They are now hauling Fuld to court along with UBS, the underwriter in the US in a class action suit.

choonway said...

After sifting through many articles and video clips I come to the conclusion of one thing that caused the whole disaster.

No regulation on highly risky investment schemes.

The problem is that there was no 'real wealth' generated by these schemes. They're just playing accounting games (and helping themselves to the apparent windfall) until the companies go bankrupt and the investors who banked on their reputation lost all their money.

(if everybody bets for a living, only the bookies earn money)

If this system was "designed to fail", wouldn't it be in the same category as pyramid schemes?

Whatever happened to making money out of tangible improvements to everyday life? e.g. Cheaper Utilities (electricty, water), Better cars, infrastructural improvements.

I just hope that recent events would make the government think about ending it's "romance" with the finance industry (or any particular industry for that matter) and concentrate on one thing they're supposed to do.


Xtrocious said...

Choonway - that's why it's called financial engineering - making money out of nothing (no tangible product)...

In this case, they are making money out of crap - and the question is should this stuff even be allowed to be sold in the first place?

I think some regulators are looking into this - don't think ours are though...sigh

Anonymous said...

MM still on JP Morgan Chase advisory panel taking care of us ? May he left already, that is why investment banks all went nuts and created this mess ?

Anonymous said...

Look at all the anti-PAP propaganda here. Such lopsided arguments.

I think I am better off sticking with the Straits Times. At least, it is a world-class newspaper.

Anonymous said...

To 6.40PM

If you can't take the TRUTH about PAP, please go spend your dollar with the ST. No one ask you to come to this forum hor !

Anonymous said...

It must be sad work having to trawl all the blog sites to type in replies against the tide. May be the employer can promote you to writing for the ST.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I am holding out for a job with ST. Hopefully, I will someday hit paydirt and become a minister.

In the meantime, you can pray and hope that you don't get retrenched in this downturn.

Read the ST. Don't waste time with this blog.

Anonymous said...

11.35PM, you sure or not?

Even Wooden Goh patronized this forum leh....just like Ms Peanut Goh patronized the NKF.
You sure you neber did your suckie job properly?

Anonymous said...

someone had started a forum

Anonymous said...

I want to be like Fatty Woon and Vivian. They once spoke for the people. But they hit paydirt and saw the light.

I want to be like them. Yes I can! Yes I can!

yamizi said...


Anonymous said...

LKY...$3mil a year... talk so slow...but got good "software".
Maybe we need to wait until 3 years after his death before his upload is complete.
Like paying $20K for Apple II with 48K memory.(but good)
Can't wait for GCT's 286 to come into full sprint !

Anonymous said...

i watched the youtube video... "compensation according to what is fair". it sent shivers down my spine. what is, "fair"? i can't believe they even used that word in the first place. whose justice?

Anonymous said...

I wonder why our wonderful and wise government is letting all these foreigners and foreign institutions in to gobble up our locals and then protecting them by speaking up on behalf of these foreign toxins?