20 November 2008

In Defense Of Mr Tan Kin Lian

So there was a letter sent to the $traits Times Forum questioning the motives of Mr Tan Kin Lian's supposedly enthusiasm in helping the minibombs victims when the latter himself was not affected at all.
Mr Chua Sheng Yang's raise a valid point but perhaps his delivery leaves something to be desired.

"Too many people are taking advantage of the situation to get back money from what they knew was a risky investment."

I think I know where Mr Chua was going with that quote and I agree to a certain extent. Yes, NOT everyone of the minibombs investors are uneducated Ah Peks and Ah Sohs. Yes, there will be people who ACTUALLY understood these products and risks. Thus, should not be compensated when value of their investments goes to zero. These people must bare the full loss.

We shall call them the "Knowledgeables" as opposed to the "Vulnerables" who are 62 years old and above and less then an "O"-Levels education.

Perhaps, it was right to identify the "Vulnerables" who are definitely unaware of what they are investing and hence be the first to be compensated without question.

The delay hence, will come to the rest of the group whom the banks will need to sieve out the "knowledgeables" from the "genuinely mis-sold".

Problem is, what has the banks done so far? It has been many weeks since this matter first broke to the surface and yet the banks have hardly said or done anything to the satisfaction of the people. It is almost as if the banks are dragging and stalling in the hope that these people will give up the pursuit of this matter on their own?

Has anyone from the "vulnerable" group been fully compensated thus far?

"The Online Citizen, a website which is well known to have an anti-government stance?"

I do not think that The Online Citizen is a anti-gahmen website even though one of the editors there has links to the Opposition Party. I would like to think the website not as anti-gahmen, but as Pro-Singapore. It's Country > People > Gahmen as far as the rungs of hierarchy are concerned. Perhaps I need to remind Mr Chua here that the Gahmen works for the people and not the other way round.

Yes, granted that the articles on TOC on late have been critical of the Gahmen but seriously let me ask you this, what has the Gahmen done of late to earn our praises? TOC does raise many valid questions and that if the Gahmen is able to respond to them and convince the people satisfactorily, I think it would have benefited the Gahmen more than they would expect i.e. TOC is giving the Gahmen a chance to justify that their decision were correct. Seriously, I do not see a downside to that.

Sadly, it appears that the Gahmen chose to forgo all these opportunities. Guilty by silence admission or just deem the people not worthy of dealing eye-to-eye with or some other reason?

"Why did Mr Tan not tell his agents to practise more ethics then, when he was CEO?"

I do not think Mr Chua thought it through when he made the above statement. That was just asking to be sued. I do hope that Mr Tan Kin Lian is kind enough to just let that slide as it was obviously a gush-of-shit-to-the-brain moment.

"And why is he protesting against local banks and the Monetary Authority of Singapore and not taking his fight to Morgan Stanley?"

I do not think that all the meetings at Hong Lim Park were protests. They were rallies to urge the Gahmen to investigate wrong doings by the banks. To me, I believe that this is the correct and most civilised way of engaging the banks. If we were to, as Mr Chua has put it, protest the banks directly, then surely it is as if we have taken the laws into our own hands and totally discrediting the judiciary system that the country has in place?

Think about it. Who would the banks listen to more? The 10,000 investors or our Gahmen and the relevant authorities?

And so back to the original question that was raised earlier. Was there a hidden agenda as to why Mr Tan Kin Lian is being to enthusiastically helpful? Is he eyeing the Elected President's job or is he looking to score a seat in Parliament in the next coming election?

Regardless of the answer which would be totally speculative, the bottom line is that at least he stepped up and did something. What has our MPs (ruling and opposition parties) done so far, to show for?

I would like to attend the next rally to wave the proverbial pom pom for these folks. Who is with me?

Image Credit:

- Voxeros

1. KungfuFish left...
Thursday, 20 November 2008 9:23 am
Been to your blog a few times but no comments yet but I really like this article you wrote.

2. CoWg0eSm0o left...
Thursday, 20 November 2008 11:45 am ::
when's the next rally? would like to attend too if it's after my exam. (i.e. after 27th).
Anyway I think the problem now is like what u've said, sieving out the appropriate grp to be compensated. But even so, how exactly are you going to prove the mis-selling? It's sort of a case of 'my words against yours' and in addition, it is the product sales-linked remuneration system that is probably driving all these sales-oriented approach (and thus mis-selling) among financial advisors from banks.
Perhaps like what u mentioned, it would have been better if the banks have given brief announcement of the progress of investigation as a periodic frequency.

I think another point which we should take into consideration is the difficulty in valuation of the remaining value of these financial products. No doubt, banks are corporate entities and they exist not for ur sake but for their shareholders' profitability. By compensating blindly (even with the case of the 'vulnerables'), they're foregoing the benefit of a particular grp of stakeholders for another. So it's quite abit of dilemma there.

3. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 20 November 2008 5:28 pm :: 
Kungfufish: Welcome to the blog. Thanks for dropping by and I am glad you enjoyed what's written here.

CowG0eM0o: The next one will be the Saturday after this coming one. As much as many innocent investors are aggrieved, we do have to spend a bit of time to understand this issue from the banks' point of view to. And yes, as much as the MAS and the banks are in deliberation, it would have been better to say something in the interim instead of being all quiet about it.

4. PasserbyA left...
Friday, 21 November 2008 1:36 am
Mr Tan's reply

5. PasserbyA left...
Friday, 21 November 2008 1:39 am
Phone interview with Chua Sheng Yang.

6. PasserbyA left...
Friday, 21 November 2008 1:54 am
If I'm the bank, I must be feeling sian -1/2. Its like a housing agent, you sell house get commission, then property market crash and the $$-eye people ask you to compensate them for the lost.
Regarding mis-representation, seems like no one was complaining when the first few series of notes was successfully executed. Granted there will be a few mis-guided souls, but I wager the bulk of them knew what they were in for. $$$.

I think TKL is doing a good job regardless of motives, hey, one doesn't question the chicken rice seller when he gives you extra meat right? And he seems to be sensible, asking for fair investigation rather then outright repayment which is impossible. If you ask me, its more of jealousy that "some" pple can't score brownie points.

All in all, I find it strange that this is such a big issue when we had magic stones and "white van" sellers for the past few years and despite all the gold jewelry and $$ lost, no one gave a flying duck's ass.
Lets see, really kena con one, dunno how to complain and ask for $$ back, educated, lost money one, know how to complain to media, MP, blah blah.
I wonder...

7. JayWalk left...
Friday, 21 November 2008 3:42 pm :: 
Passerby A: thanks for the links. I read them already. The problem (re: housing agent) here is that if the housing agent were to say in advance that the house that was to be sold was haunted and that it will no resale value AND the client still go ahead and buy the house, then the client have no recourse when the house is confirmed to have no value thereafer.

However in this case, the banks are aware of the risk that these products hold and yet some of their sales staff went ahead and advised that these were safe products. This is the wrong that we are addressing here and trying to quantify it into a value for compensation.

In a way, it looked very unfair that people kept quiet when they are making money and make noise when they lose money. If you look at this from another angle, people kept quiet only because the banks got away with the misselling and that people make noise when the banks are caught.

8. PasserbyA left...
Friday, 21 November 2008 6:35 pm
Well, honestly 6 months back, the notes backed by a AAA rated Leh Bro is actually pretty much safe. The financial climate did a sharp turn and caught a lot of people with their pants down.
6 months back, Money Market Funds was also said to be very safe, but during this crisis, it actually fell below $1.
Anyway, my point is, I am feeling sorry for this people, but I do not think it is appropriate to put in extra effort to clear up their mess. We can't always bail everyone out when the shit hits the fan, this will become a vicious cycle.
Of cause, we should still continue with the investigation, and weed out the unscrupulous agents but other than that, I dont' see how much more we can do about it.

9. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 23 November 2008 11:41 pm :: 
Passerby A: In a way, it also cast a shadow on the credibility on these so call S&P ratings. If these were AAAs, that how is it possible for it to plummet to ruins in such a short span of time?

And yes, the Gahmen should not be directly involved in the bail out of these investors. It is the onus of the banks who mis-sold them. Gahmen role is only to ensure that the banks take responsibility of their misdeeds, if any.

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