MAS has banned 10 institutions from selling structured notes for periods of 6 months to 2 years[Link]. MAS investigation has found that the financial institutions failed to follow guidelines on the sale of structured products, including training financial advisers in the marketing of the notes. The ban may look harsh but the structured products market has already shrunk considerably or disappeared after the minibond saga so the impact to the bottomline is negligible.
MAS findings give investors who are unhappy with the compensation some evidence to initiate a class action lawsuit. FIs compensated between 5 to 30% of the money invested. Brokerage firms offered the least compensation. Class action lawsuits are long tough affairs in Singapore with uncertain outcomes. Take the example of Raffles Town Club members who sued for compensation after they found the club had missold "exclusive" memberships of $28K each to 19,000 people. The class action group which called itself Raffles5000 won their lawsuit was only awarded $3K per member. The club decided to compensate all 19,000 members and obtained the court's approval to make payment through cash and F&B vouchers valued at some $3,000 for each member[Link].
Unless the authorities decide to do something, the only option left is the class action lawsuit. If Hong Kong resolves this with a more favorable outcome for their investors, they will show that their system offers greater protection for investors.