Media Releases
Published Date: 02 October 2008

MAS and Financial Institutions to Ensure Investor Complaints are Dealt With Quickly and Fairly

Singapore, 2 October 2008...MAS understands the current anxiety of many investors who have purchased DBS High Notes 5, Lehman Minibonds and Merrill Lynch Jubilee Series 3 LinkEarner Notes.  Our priority is to ensure that investors’ complaints are heard, documented, reviewed and resolved quickly and fairly.

2   Accordingly, in discussion with the financial institutions (FIs) concerned, MAS has identified three well-respected individuals to oversee the relevant FIs’ complaints handling and resolution processes for these products.  The FIs are in the process of appointing the following individuals:

  • Gerard Ee – DBS Bank;
  • Law Song Keng – ABN Amro, Hong Leong Finance, Maybank;
  • Hwang Soo Jin – CIMB GK Securities, DMG & Partners Securities, Kim Eng Securities, OCBC Securities, Phillips Securities, UOB Kay Hian.

3   The independent parties will review the internal complaints handling and resolution processes of the FI to determine whether these processes are independent, fair and transparent. The independent parties will not be personally involved in the resolution and settlement of individual complaints.

4   Investors who are not satisfied with the outcome of the FI’s review process may choose to have the complaint referred to FIDReC for mediation or adjudication.  FIDReC provides investors with an affordable and impartial avenue to pursue claims against their FI.  A fast tracked process has already been put into place. The decision of the FIDReC Adjudicator is final and binding on the FI, but not on the investor.  If the investor is not happy with the decision, he is free to reject the decision and pursue his claim through other avenues. 

5   The independent parties will provide MAS with regular updates on the progress of the complaints review and will highlight to MAS any shortcoming in the FIs’ processes as well as any issues that require regulatory follow up.

6   If there is evidence of potential breaches of our laws or regulations, MAS and the relevant authorities will investigate and take appropriate action. Regulatory action could include fines and public reprimands but cannot include requiring FIs to pay compensation to affected investors.  MAS can also require a FI to strengthen its internal processes and controls if these are found to be deficient. 

7   Mr Shane Tregillis, Deputy Managing Director, Market Conduct, MAS, said, "We understand that many customers are concerned and anxious about the possible losses on these investment products. For this reason, our first priority in dealing with the matter has been to give these customers reassurance that their FI will address their complaint quickly and fairly. Where a customer is still not satisfied, he can have the matter referred to FIDReC, which was specifically set up to handle such issues."

* * *

Appendix 1


Gerard Ee (余 福 金 )

Mr Gerard Ee started his career as an accountant in 1974. He became a practicing auditor in 1976 and retired as a partner of Ernst & Young on 30 June 2005.

Mr Ee has been active in the field of social service throughout his professional life as an accountant. He helped convert a programme providing respite care into the Assisi Home and Hospice in 1987 and was its Chairman until 2002. In 1989 he established Bizlink Centre, an employment programme for the disabled, and was its Chairman until 1992. He has chaired a whole range of social service organizations and programmes which include juvenile rehabilitative centres, grassroots organizations, schools, and various programmes for the elderly and youth. He was also an active member of the Task Force which established the Code on Religious Harmony.

Mr Ee was formerly the President of the National Council of Social Services. He is the Chairman of the Medifund Advisory Council and the Public Transport Council. As a Justice of the Peace, Gerard visits the prisons and conducts criminal procedure mediation sessions. He was officially appointed as Chairman of the NKF on July 17, 2005.

Law Song Keng (刘 桑  庆 )

Mr Law Song Keng is a member of the board of directors of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, the Central Provident Fund Board and the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation. Mr Law was previously Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Overseas Assurance Corporation, a life and general insurer. A Public Service Commission Scholar, Mr Law has also served as Insurance Commissioner at MAS, President of the Life Insurance Association, President of the General Insurance Association, President of the Singapore Actuarial Society and Chairman of the Singapore Insurance Institute.

Hwang Soo Jin (黄 树 人 )

After qualifying as an associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute in 1959 in London, Mr Hwang Soo Jin devoted 12 years of his life to Commercial Union Assurance Plc. and rose to the position of manager for Singapore and East Malaysia. He then spent another 25 years with United Overseas lnsurance as its founding managing director and actively participated in the founding and development of Singapore Reinsurance Corporation Ltd of which he is chairman since 1984. During his insurance career, he was twice elected president of the General Insurance Association of Singapore and served as Chairman of the Insurance Ombudsman Council for 15 years.

Mr Hwang was MP for Jalan Kayu between 1968 to 1984, deputy speaker of parliament from 1981 to 1985 and a member of the Public Accounts Committee  from 1977 to 1984.

Over the years, Mr Hwang has been appointed to the boards of numerous statutory boards and government-linked organisations including URA, TAS, POSB, CISCO, Export Credit Insurance Corporation of Singapore, National Crime Prevention Council, National Fire Prevention Council and others.

He is a Justice of the Peace and an honorary fellow of the Singapore Insurance Institute.