The following letter was sent by Mr Vincent Sear to the Straits Times. The Straits Times has rejected it for publication.

Sir,

I refer to the letter of November 18, 2008, from Mr. Chua Seng Yang, “Questions on investment product rally.” Mr. Chua, like many others, may have different opinions and points of view on the issue of the collapse of structured investment products, and we all should accommodate and respect opinions and points of view that are different from our own. However, Mr. Chua has also written, “It was not too long ago that Mr Tan was the chief executive officer of NTUC Income and his own agents adopted the same practices which he now deems unscrupulous. Why did Mr Tan not tell his agents to practise more ethics then, when he was CEO?” I would like to invite Mr. Chua to substantiate his allegation, which I find groundless and even slanderous.

I have had the privilege of working with Mr. Tan Kin Lian in NTUC Income several years ago, in a position directly linking senior management to agency sales force. As far as I know, at no time did Mr. Tan advocate any unethical or unscrupulous practices for his sales force. The highest risk product available from NTUC Income then was probably the Technology Fund ILP (investment-linked policy). It also sustained hefty losses during the dot.com crash of the early 2000s but there was no complaint of mis-selling from investors like what is happening with the Lehman Brothers minibonds now. That was because investment losses and mis-selling or misrepresentation are different things. When investors are fully aware of the risks, there’s no complaint about losses.

Vincent Sear

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