Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lim Hng Kiang : Structured Notes Fiasco settled fairly....

Straits Times 21 July 2009 : Fiasco Resolved Fairly
Now I get a better picture of what PAP leaders think fairness is. Sending victims of mis-selling one-by-one back to file complaints with the banks so that the bank get to decide who and what amount to compensate, to them, is a fair process. Although financial institutions have violated guidelines and have been banned from selling these products, most compensated investors received only 10-30% of their money and many have not been compensated. DBS compensated only $7.6M[Link] to investors who lost $103M[Link] from High Notes 5 - this is the govt's idea of fairness and justice ....yes it is only fair that we pay these ministers millions to do so much for ordinary Singaporeans.
We are in a country that just employed 500 officers to catch and fine people for eating sweets on MRT trains because there is a remote possibility that the sweet may fall out of the person's mouth and dirty the train so it is very strange to hear that our financial regulator does not have the capacity to ensure that financial products are fit for sale and make sure that our financial institutions do not mis-sell them and cause ordinary Singaporeans to lose their lifesavings. Sweets are not allowed on the MRT, but crappy financial products that rarely perform as advertised are allowed. We should not ban these FIs from selling these products for 9 months or 12 months, they should be banned forever. These structured products allow banks to make plenty in fees and commissions because the complex structure help to hide these. There is little benefit for investors in these products. We ban sweets on MRT trains and chewing gum but allow our banks to sell structured products......oh this country is so well run and ministers are paid millions to tell us "MAS can't do much"....don't want or can't?

At a time when political leadership is needed to bring about a equitable resolution, they choose to be absent. This crisis taught us that greedy bankers and corporations know the law and regulation well enough not to break them. It takes real leadership to go investigate what has happened, make painful changes and answer to the people who lost their lifesavings through no fault of their own. This single fiasco taught us about what is really important to the PAP leaders and it is not fairness or the well being of ordinary Singaporeans who became victims.....Lim Hng Kiang said it best himself and he said it honestly:

"The process has not been overly legalistic and is not subject to political pressure. This way we serve the interests of all parties, and also serve the wider public interest of growing Singapore’s reputation as a credible and reliable international financial centre" - Minister Lim Hng Kiang...

I was wondering how we "grow our reputation" by giving small investors so little protection.... certainly our reputation in the eyes of investors will be harmed......I thought about for a while I think Minister Lim is saying we grow our reputation among the big global banks that they can come here to do business and for what ever reason they overlook the regulation of our little state and the citizens are hurt because of it, the punishment will not undermine their bottomline too much. I'm sure many banks will be lining up for licenses to provide services ...to sell more structured products and issue more credit cards to ordinary Singaporeans. The govt now serves the interests of "all parties", ordinary Singaporeans being a small part of this "all parties" thingy - look at it this way : Singapore is now Singapore Inc a corporation with many stake holders and like I've said in my previous posts, the interests of the PAP govt is now diversified among the many stake holders, ordinary Singaporeans being one of the many stake holders and are not the only primary interest of the PAP govt ....and the resolution of this minibond fiasco says it all.


Anonymous said...

Isnt DBS HN5 the bank's local version of the Lehmans mini bond? If so, then the banks should be held responsible for knowingly structuring this product. The result is no different from the the H1N1

Anonymous said...

Don't be too hard hitting. They may get tough on you.

Anyway, if they can sit comfortable collecting their millions, there is no motivation to work hard.

Anonymous said...

"This single fiasco taught us about what is really important to the PAP leaders and it is not fairness or the well being of ordinary Singaporeans....." - Lucky

That sums up the whole issue. It reveals the true face of PAP - a heartlesss, irresponsible government which cannot even hold a candle to the comparatively young government in Hongkong despite being accused by some for being a Beijing stooge.

Singapore beware of PAP!

Anonymous said...

No wonder MM Lee says we are not a united nation yet. You should suck thumb and keep quiet and support all the MNC and global banks in their quest for the betterment of Singapore.

Anonymous said...


Your leadership is the Pinky & Brain tag team.

Btw, cheena Ministar Lim is the one ur supporters want to take over from the ah neh Tar-man...

Anonymous said...

Every election for the past 44 years, PAP had strong support and a weak opposition.

So statistically speaking, the next election will most likely be no different.

Wide awake said...

Has anyone ever thought the ministers are paid millions to ensure that PAP will always be in power and not necessarily for the benefit of the nation? Serve the interest of the party first and if it happens to benefit the nation, that's a bonus. If not, too bad for the man in the street. The fact remains PAP will never be voted out of power. At least not in my life time. They will continue to run the country they way they want. Get used to it or get out.

sgcynic said...

It's easy to create 500 "brainless" jobs like eating-sweet-catchers but but those that require Harvard degrees to understand complex instruments that sells "financial products".

Also, how can we expect our PAP "leaders" to come down hard on their "elite counterparts" in the financial sector? The line between public and private sector is next to non-existent when greater mortal "public service officers" retire comfortably into the private sector.

So, when they say it's fair, it's fair (to them). All should just shut up and sit down, and get ready to vote.

Anonymous said...

How come when people make money no make noise? Once loose money, starts to point finger?

Anonymous said...

the govt does not need to intervene in micro issues like eating sweets on the trains, the CEO of SMRT has a job.

Anonymous said...

The gov cannot micro manage everything out there. They have bigger picture to paint. What is the CEO's paid for? They should be the one responsible.

nigel said...

All the world class centres that our govt stride to be. Look at what happen to them.

Financial sector selling junk derivatives as Bonds to innocent investor.

Education sector selling fake degree to students.

Medical sector treating Juntas' sick patients.

Anonymous said...


this is quite interesting, you may be able to find out if singapore is similiarly concerned about road safety. i dunno. basically, using the phone while driving is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Singapore is a country with very few consumer protection.

It is very hard to get the culprits peddling fake degrees to refund back the money.

It is very hard to get your money back from time-share companies.

It is even harder to get back your money from buying structured prodcuts from the banks.

On the contrary, it is really easy for the govt to sue you if you don't pay up your taxes or bills.

Basically, Singaporeans deserve to be cheated of their life savings. It is poetic justice, that the party they voted for in every elections is now the same party that protects that banks that cheated them.

Singaporeans basically get what they voted for.

Anonymous said...

How can Singapore be a reliable financial centre?

If you get misled or cheated, the banks are not liable to compensate you for your loss.

Which idiot in his right mind would still want to invest in structured products offered by any banks operating in Singapore, given the low level of consume protetection offered?

Anonymous said...

It has been discovered it is easier to cheat Singaporeans than to earn money the proper way.

Too bad, opposition parties have been warning you for the past 30 years but you wouldn't listen. Blame no one but yourself.

Look on the bright side, at least you are being cheated by Singapore based companies. So some of your money stayed in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I quite agree that our government should not micro-manage financial institutions at all.

But having ascertained that there were indeed some wrongdoings (which led to the ban), ordering FIs to compensate fairly along equitable guidelines is NOT micro-management.

To all PAP ministers, pls don't throw up some business jargon to throw us off the scent. There is blood money everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Actually I dont really know whay this minister is still running around some ministry and collecting his million dollars pay out.

I do recall vividly that this guy was running the ministry of national development ministry,that was the time when HDB built up a long Q of over 100,000.

One of the main reasons that happened was that this guy did not know the word PRUDENT,it was under him that Ah Peks over 60 years old could sell their HDB bought cheap when Dr Goh was building many years ago,pocket their profit and re-take loans running to for another 25-30n years.

Check it oput,his record,I wonder why Double First PM Lee still keep him to count the peanuts,I wouldnt mind so much if he goes to take change of our upcoming 6 star French vision hawker centres.

Anonymous said...

Hairdo Lim's comments are targeted at the uninformed majority, not the enlightened ones.

It's the final stage of their damage control strategy.

Anonymous said...

Which idiot in his right mind would still want to invest in structured products offered by any banks operating in Singapore, given the low level of consume protetection offered?

Now you know why Hong Leong Finance is banned for 2 years.

They compensate the most,so when in future, there are similar structured products sold by both DBS and Hong Leong, a rational investor would of course buy at Hong Leong and not DBS.

Like that can prevent Hong Leong from reducing DBS business and to show that they care as well.

Anonymous said...

21/7/09 10:59,

The govt loses your Singaporean's precious CPF money in gambling with the Wall St banks, and of course keeps quiet.
Same case with the PAP towns' sinking funds.

Keep quiet after losing BIG TIME. That's the PAP style.

Anonymous said...

Hairdo Lim is one of the worst ministers ever. He is in there by virtue of being an ex- paper general in LHL's cohort. He just auto-pilots his way through a series of ministries. And shit always happen under his watch. I think he has been advised to keep a low profile in recent years. Still, any time he opens his mouth he just pisses people off.

Anonymous said...

"I quite agree that our government should not micro-manage financial institutions at all."

And yet they want to micro-manage your CPF. The latest being CPF Life, a compulsory annuity.

PAP is just hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

We have been fair. "Shut up and sit down!"

Case closed. Next election we still win. So what can you do?

Ha ha!

Anonymous said...

U my win all the battles, but loss the hearts.

Anonymous said...

Regulatory capture


egulatory capture is a term used to refer to situations in which a government regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead acts in favor of the commercial or special interests that dominate in the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure, as it can act as an encouragement for large firms to produce negative externalities.

Of course if you're judgemental, pro-business like Parka, you can ignore this post.

Anonymous said...

Never argue with crazy people, especially those that know everything yet only have a limited view of the world. The problem is they don't know they're crazy or know-it-alls.

And yes, I'm judgemental like Parka.

Kelvin Tan said...

Er, as loyal Singaporeans, we are only suppose to reply with

"Wan Sui Wan Sui Wan Wan Sui"

Anonymous said...


Remeber the CLOB issue years ago? The then Trade & Industry Minister who is none other LHL promised all S'porean investors that the PAP govt would pursue this within all legal means so that they would not be short changed. Look what happened (nothing). So it is not surprising that the PAP govt did nothing to help the small investors in this HN5 fiasco.

Anonymous said...

anon 18.52

lim was the lowest ranking among lhl cohort..his highest rank attained in the army was not general but lt.col

Anonymous said...

and HK's response to the fiasco is so different.


They certainly are showing whose backs they cover when the s*it hits the fan.

Anonymous said...

so, they protect the institutions rather than investors, attract more banks to Singapore. and then build casinos right next to them.

We certainly are building a reputation for ourselves here - indeed, singapore is on its way to being a "gambling" hub.

oh, and at the same time, they hire 500 officers to catch and fine people for eating on the MRT trains, even those that eat sweets or small candy. They even get the press to shame these people.

Hmm..a question comes to mind - wont hiring 500 cleaners instead be cheaper and maintain the cleanliness of the trains too?

These recent devts really gave me a good insight into the mentality and thinking of those at the top in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

"Actually I dont really know whay this minister is still running around some ministry and collecting his million dollars pay out." anon 16.22
Good point. the Sars crisis was another thing. His handling as Heath Minister was so pathetic that he had to be assisted by 2 other ministers. I remembered the press conference where he looked lost and being overshadowed by his

Anonymous said...

What a load of rubbish! MAS cannot micro manage ? When reference entities linked to Temasek, Spore Telecom and Singapore are used openly did he meant to say MAS do not bother to investigate why are these names being used ? Now there is credit event due to credit event to the unknown underlying assets.Investors get back nothing!

Anonymous said...

Is he the one who regretted saving a premature baby?

The following quote is floating around in the Internet. I wonder if it is true.

"…I regret making the decision because, in the end, the baby
continued to be in intensive care, and KKH now runs up a total bill
of more than $300,000…" - Lim Hng Kiang, regretting the decision to
save a baby's life because KKH ran up a $300,000 bill

Anonymous said...

The headline reads: MAS cannot micro manage financial institutions. That does'nt seem to the point. The point is the role of MAS is to oversee, to supervise the practices of the financial institutions. But it did a bad job out of it and is giving excuses with a clever play of words.

In the past, MAS officers just sat in the big fat seats and announced in the press that banks should not sell certain structured products especially to old folks who were illerate but the banks carried on with it.

Is MAS going to refrom from now or is it going to be the same - just talk and talk only?

Anonymous said...

Official news from channel Newsasia tonight--Hong Kong bank to compensate 60% for all Minibond investors for those below 65 years old. Those older will get more !

The writting is on the wall for all to see and yet our MAS stand---
--- you have to fight for your case to show why you should be compensated.We must be peanuts to be treated this way!

soojenn said...

To get the clearer picture on this fiasco and how it has been handled in HK, you can read the full article from the South China Morning Post, which I have posted on -


What Singapore has done for their minority investors is a far shadow of what the HKMA has done. Perhaps due to the different voices / bodies from the public that can be heard and who debates this in parliament, unlike in Singapore.

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