Editor's note: The title of this report has been changed for accuracy.
Davin Choo / Tng Wen Quan
Mr Tan Kin Lian spoke at Speaker’s Corner today for the sixth time on investments gone awry. While his speech mainly consisted of two portions – bringing up the issue to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the legal advice he is currently undertaking - the main message he had for investors was for them to ask the relevant authorities to take proper action, and to continue to do so until a proper resolution has been achieved.
Mr Tan emphasized the need for investors to seek redress from their Members of Parliament (MPs) as well. “It is the duty of the MPs to ask these questions on your behalf. Your MPs can also raise them in Parliament,” he said. Mr. Tan also urged investors to continue to forward their complaints to the MAS, the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDREC) and banking institutions, stressing that they should not accept only verbal accounts from those in charge but to also ask for written statements - as explanations of events in verbatim change with every retelling. Furthermore, the person-in-charge also cannot be easily held accountable for what he or she has said.
When he questioned the audience of about 200 people on who have been interviewed by the banks so far, about twenty people raised their hands. His second question, whether they were given a reply at all from the banks (either compensation or rejection) however, had only two respondents. No one present raised their hands when Mr Tan asked if anyone had taken their cases up with FIDREC. “This thing cannot just die…” he said, referring to the investors’ pursuit for proper resolution.
Mr. Tan went on to say that MAS regulations state that banking institutions must give a formal reply to any enquires by the public within four weeks. So far, six weeks have passed and many still have yet to receive any form of replies. Investors, he said, should continue to press those who have the answers. If no satisfactory reply is received, then a complaint should be lodged with the respective authorities, i.e. MAS. He stressed that investors have a right to ask such questions, and should.
Mr. Tan disclosed that he has contacted two senior lawyers to go through the prospectus for misrepresentation or non-disclosure. By misrepresentation, it means that the fund manager has provided false or incorrect information regarding a fact. Non-disclosure, on the other hand, refers to a situation whereby the fund manager has failed to point out and reveal information regarding the fund, including potential dangers and risks. These will then misguide the consumer in his decision making.
At the same time, Mr. Tan is going to contact a Queen’s Counsel and obtain legal advice from British lawyers. According to him, this is due to two main reasons – one being that Singapore’s laws are based on British laws and the other is because the issue is one which is relatively complicated and perhaps the British counterparts can provide better legal advice.
Throughout his speech today, Mr. Tan emphasized the importance of investors going to see their MPs. He advised that they should question the MPs on what is the outcome of the first petition which asked MAS to investigate if there were any wrong doings by the Financial Institutions (FIs), how many investors have had their cases resolved by the FIs and how many complaints have been lodged with FIDREC.
“If you already saw your MP before, you can see the MP again,” he said. “This time, ask the MP to do the “right thing” as the leader that represents you.”
Ms Lee Wai Leng later translated Mr Tan’s speech to Chinese for the audience. Mr Goh Meng Seng spoke on the recent PAP town councils' investment losses and on Mr Tan running for elections. (See the videos here.)
Mr Tan Kin Lian's speech, Part One:
Some pictures of today's event: