Thursday, December 11, 2008

First of many lawsuits get on the way...

In Singapore, where selling chewing gum is a crime, we allow companies to engage in all sort of selling tactics many of which involve the use deception. The govt is so strict they control what the people can view and where they are allowed to speak publicly. is not okay for people like Chee to deceive you into thinking your govt is not the best in the world but you are expected to see through the deception of complex mobile contracts and even more complex structured products. Singaporeans are smart and stupid at the same time. They are so smart they are expected to understand the 100 page prospectus of a structured product but so stupid that they their minds will be poisoned if they read unauthorised and unfiltered material on the Internet...that is why the govt has to spend so much time to form AIMS (Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media) to figure out what they can allow on the internet. The whole country will be deceived and misled if a group of people wear kangaroo T-shirts and say bad stuff about our esteemed MM or PM but it is okay for banks to sell products that would take rocket science to figure the risk to ordinary Singaporeans by telling them it is safe.

The real battleground will be in Hong Kong, the US and Europe when it comes to lawsuits on mis-selling. Singaporeans will have to fight with both hands tied behind their backs. Justice will come to people in countries with govts that believe in it.
HONG KONG - TWO former Singapore residents have sued DBS Bank (Hong Kong) for selling them structured products linked to the now-collapsed United States investment bank Lehman Brothers. The retired couple, Mr Stephen Tou Kwok Woon and his wife Wong Fung Chun, filed a writ on Monday against the bank in the High Court here. The pair, who now live in San Francisco in the US, are seeking to recover the US$1.26 million (S$1.89 million) they had invested in DBS Constellation Notes in July 2006 and April last year. In their lawsuit, the couple have alleged misrepresentation and breach of duty of care. According to court papers obtained by The Straits Times, the couple said they had returned to Hong Kong - after living in Singapore - with a view to retirement. They had sold their property in Singapore and moved the proceeds - nearly all their life savings - from DBS Singapore to an account with the bank in Hong Kong. In July 2006, the couple said, they were sold Series 43 Constellation structured retail notes for US$950,000 by a relationship manager at a DBS branch. They claimed they had initially asked about putting their money in a fixed deposit account for retirement income and told the bank employee that they had little investment experience. The relationship manager then allegedly recommended the structured notes, saying they were as safe as a fixed deposit account. The couple said they were told that the notes were issued on the strength of eight well-known financial institutions or listed companies with high credit ratings, representing a low-risk portfolio. They said their attention was not drawn to any potential risks. Instead, they were told that in the unlikely event one of the institutions failed, the worst that could happen would be a one-eighth reduction in the principal value. The sale was completed in 20 minutes, they said. In April last year, the relationship manager phoned the couple, who were by then in the US, recommending Series 73 notes, which were 'of the same nature' as their previous investment. The couple said they agreed to put in US$310,000. The couple said that in late October or early November this year, a DBS representative called them to say, without further explanation, that the notes had lost all, or nearly all, of their value. They lodged a complaint with the bank but have yet to receive a satisfactory answer. They said they found out only in October that the notes were high-risk financial instruments. The failure of one institution could lead to a total loss. DBS has 14 days to indicate if it wishes to defend the lawsuit, after which it has another 14 days to file its defence. When contacted yesterday, DBS declined to comment as it is an ongoing legal matter. The couple's legal team is led by Senior Counsel Anthony Neoh, who has served as chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.


Onlooker said...

It's about time the lawsuits started.

Anonymous said...

i feel sorry for the mini bond losers. but hey, that's life. you get what you vote for. now this is a first-world government, so get up on your ass, and move on!

Anonymous said...

Good. Ex-singaporean battling the unjust in foreign land.

I wish this couple god-speed in getting the PAP-sponsored DBS group fucked upright.

The Hermit said...

Interesting to see how this will turns out.

1) If the couple loses, it will the sign that PAP will use to tell people to move on.

2) If the couple goes for an out-of-court settlement, it will be a gauge for our people to base on depending on the settlement amount.

3) If the couple wins big time, it will be a good indicator for our people too. And beside, it sends a message that Singaporeans is better off investing and keeping their money in Hong Kong rather than Singapore.

sgcynic said...

Reading a 100-page prospectus is chicken feed, compared to having experts scrutinise the words and actions of your opponents, to the extent that holding an envelope and saying "you know" can be interpreted as defamatory. If it has to be dissected and inferred, then it's not common sense, is it. If it is against common sense, it's not right.

Anonymous said...

Want justice, see Justice Bao.
Want justice, go HK.

Anonymous said...

Lossing so much money is no joke.
Lossing a person's life savings is no joke.
Lossing other people's money, u don't feel the pain; lossing yr own money is no joke!!!

Chee Wai Lee said...

You hit the nail on the head. The Singapore government cherry-picks when Singaporeans are considered smart and when they are too dumb for their own good without "government intervention".