MAS Statement: Update on progress of complaints handling by financial institutions
MAS is following up with the 10 financial institutions (FIs) that have sold DBS High Notes 5, Lehman Minibond programme notes and Merrill Lynch Jubilee Series 3 LinkEarner Notes to ensure that they are handling investors' complaints according to the serious and impartial process that we have set up.
MAS has also been getting regular updates from Mr Gerard Ee, Mr Hwang Soo Jin and Mr Law Song Keng, the independent parties who were appointed to oversee the complaints handling and resolution process.
The FIs have put in concerted efforts and additional dedicated resources to deal with all complaints. While there have been some difficulties at the start, we have seen improvements. As of 26 October 2008, the 10 FIs have received about 2,400 formal complaints. The FIs have reported that they are acknowledging the complaints within the service targets set by MAS. They are also making progress in interviewing complainants and scheduling the remaining cases for interviews.
Some FIs have made good progress in the resolution of their complaints. MAS welcomes this. Others have some way to go and we expect greater effort on their part to expedite their complaints review. We have reminded FIs to deal fairly with all cases, regardless of the background of the investors, with a view to reaching fair settlement where there is evidence of mis-selling. FIs should meet the service standards set out by MAS in our statement of 10 October 2008.
Mr Law Song Keng said, "The client profiles at ABN Amro, Hong Leong Finance and Maybank vary. Even within the same organisation, there are different types of investors who bought these products. The FIs recognise this, and are prioritising internally to deal with the vulnerable cases first. I am working with them to ensure that their senior management give personal time and attention to deal with all complaints fairly and swiftly. As the FIs are now moving to the review and resolution stage, I expect to spend more time on this aspect going forward."
Said Mr Gerard Ee, "I have been working with DBS to review some of the cases which did not meet the bank's internal standards. I am glad that the bank has started to make settlements with affected customers. I will continue to work with DBS to ensure that all complaints meet the service standards set by MAS, and are handled in a prompt, equitable and thorough manner."
Mr Hwang Soo Jin added, "There is no lack of diligence on the part of the stockbroking firms in making special efforts to put in place enhanced systems and processes in order to handle customer complaints promptly. However, it should be pointed out that their clientele and modus operandi are somewhat different from the other financial institutions. I am working closely with the stockbrokers and MAS to ensure that all complaints are handled in a fair and transparent manner with priority given to vulnerable investors."