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DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLOWN!


Alfrescian (Inf)
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR>Oct 19, 2008

</TR><!-- headline one : start --><TR>'When it happened, I was shocked'

</TR><!-- headline one : end --><TR>It was boom-time Singapore. People were cash-rich from the feverish en-bloc property market and a shining economy, banks were rolling out an array of financial products targeted at the man-in-the-street investor, and wealth managers were popping champagne. No one would have dreamt that two years on, one of America?s largest investment banks would go bust and its bankruptcy would affect the livelihood of 10,000 people here who had invested more than $500 million in Lehman Brothers-linked products. The Sunday Times pieces together... </TR><!-- Author --><TR><TD class="padlrt8 georgia11 darkgrey bold" colSpan=2>By Tan Dawn Wei and Francis Chan

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Many of the investors who showed up at the Speakers' Corner gathering on Oct 11 were Mandarin-speaking, middle-aged and retired. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


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Three days before Lehman Brothers went bust, triggering one of the world's most horrific financial meltdowns, DBS Bank relationship manager Wilfred Quek was having coffee with his colleagues and debating the fate of the American investment bank.
<TABLE width=200 align=left valign="top"><TBODY><TR><TD class=padr8><!-- Vodcast --><!-- Background Story --><STYLE type=text/css> #related .quote {background-color:#E7F7FF; padding:8px;margin:0px 0px 5px 0px;} #related .quote .headline {font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:10px;font-weight:bold; border-bottom:3px double #007BFF; color:#036; text-transform:uppercase; padding-bottom:5px;} #related .quote .text {font-size:11px;color:#036;padding:5px 0px;} </STYLE>In Singapore
On Oct 11, more than 500 people who had sunk their money into beleaguered financial products like Lehman's Minibonds, DBS High Notes 5 and Merrill Lynch Jubilee Series 3 LinkEarner Notes turned up at a gathering of investors at Speakers' Corner.

The rally was led by former NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian, who has taken on the role of championing the investors' cause.

In Hong Kong
Hundreds of upset investors have protested at possibly losing their money and demanded compensation from banks that sold them Lehman's Minibonds.

Some staked out the headquarters of the Bank of China on Oct 8, accusing local banks of misleading them about investment products backed by the failed American investment bank.

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>'My call was that there was no way the Fed was going to let it go down. Some people said it was possible, but not to me and many others,' said the 31-year-old.
'When it happened, I was honestly shocked.'
When he went to work that Monday morning of Sept15, his fifth-floor office at Ngee Ann City was already buzzing with talk of what might have happened to Lehman Brothers over that weekend.
Shortly after noon, he found out that the 158-year-old institution had collapsed.
Soon after, he received a call and an e-mail message from his supervisor asking him and other relationship managers to go to the headquarters of DBS Bank in Shenton Way for an emergency 'townhall meeting' at 6.30pm that day.
In between receiving non-stop SMS messages from friends and colleagues about the grim news, Mr Quek was pulling out clients' telephone numbers from the bank's database: He realised with a sinking heart that those who had bought DBS High Notes5 from him were likely to be affected by Lehman's downfall.
The structured product, which the bank launched last year, is linked to eight underlying shares - including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Macquarie Bank and Lehman - on a 'first to default' basis.
This means that should any of these eight reference entities fail, the notes will be terminated and the investor will receive zero payout in the worst-case scenario. This, unfortunately, is likely to be a worst-case scenario.
The DBS High Notes5, to be held for 51/2years, were sold to more than 1,400 retail investors in Singapore for a total of $103million. More than half of them invested $50,000 or less. Some had invested as much as $600,000.
'It was chaos,' said Mr Quek, an engineering graduate who has been with the bank for two years and is with DBS Treasures Priority Banking, which serves customers who have at least $200,000 in their bank accounts.
'I didn't know what to expect, what the magnitude of this collapse was like and how it was going to affect the whole industry and our economy. I was also worried about my customers' portfolios, regardless of whether they had bought High Notes5 or not.'
When more Singaporeans got wind of the news, calls from panic-stricken customers came fast and furious, and some were not even High Notes5 buyers. Everyone wanted to know only one thing: How would Lehman's downfall affect their investments?
Mr Quek did not have ready answers. The management at DBS Bank was also trying to figure out what this dire turn of events would mean.
At the townhall meeting that evening, senior management met with product and markets colleagues at the bank's auditorium.
It became apparent to the few hundred relationship managers that they would have to break some pretty bad news to their High Notes5 customers.
As the week progressed, stories of retirees having put their retirement funds into the notes emerged, as well as how buyers of other Lehman-linked products like Minibonds and Merrill Lynch Jubilee Series3 LinkEarner Notes had also been hit hard.
In all, nearly 10,000 retail investors bought products linked to Lehman Brothers amounting to $501million.

=> See the figure changed from $375M to $500M to $501M. Cover up is not co-ordinated properly?

Mr Quek's phone continued to ring off the hook from 8am to midnight for the next week, even as he made calls to customers, dropped in at their homes, or met them over coffee to tell them that their money could be wiped out.
Some were upset, others understanding, but luckily for him, no one turned nasty.
Those who were unsatisfied with his explanation were referred to DBS' Investor Care Centre, a new unit set up to take complaints from the Lehman fallout.
Said Mr Quek: 'People were moving funds from foreign to local banks and they were worried. 'Is DBS safe as a bank?' They were asking questions like that. It had gone to a stage that was beyond logic. Everyone was going through an emotional frenzy then.'


Alfrescian (Inf)
Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO


Structured products like High Notes5 and Lehman-issued Minibonds have been gaining popularity in the last seven or eight years and were snatched up like hot cakes by investors in Singapore.
After all, the economy was sailing along nicely after getting over the Sars crisis of 2003.
Singaporeans were cash-rich from crazy en-bloc property sales.

=> How many are? Wanna psycho Sporns to believe that the money is not hard earned, so OK to lose? Silent that most who bought them are uncles and aunties and conned into doing so when they're renewing their fixed deposit?

Early last year, around the time High Notes5 was launched, Leedon Heights in Holland Road smashed the record for the largest collective sale in the country with a whopping $835million.
Financial institutions were rolling out a dizzying array of products, all calling out for people's money. At bank branch offices from Hougang to Holland, well-mannered, well-groomed relationship managers staked out potential customers.
They were all armed with rehearsed speeches on why the public should put their money in perfectly safe financial instruments, instead of leaving it in fixed deposits with near-zero interest.
In April2006, Mr Chua Meng Teck, 40, was invited to OCBC Securities in OCBC Centre's South Tower. There, he and about 30 others were given a nice presentation by Lehman, a buffet spread and a 'marketing talk' about the investment bank's Minibonds.
Mr Chua, a financial controller and savvy investor, knows he is supposed to take marketing talks with a pinch of salt, but he was won over by the Minibonds.

=> Subliminal message that Sporns have only themselves to be blamed?

They were supposed to give you fixed returns which were respectable but not too high, so how risky could it be, he thought.
He was not looking at striking rich with it anyway.
'I consciously bought it just to balance my equity investments because I didn't want to lose sleep over it. In case my shares go down, I still have this,' said Mr Chua, who sank in about $140,000.
Besides, investors were not required to monitor the performance of their investments hawkishly. They were told that they just needed to wait out the five years to get back their principal sum. It sounded pretty perfect.
Mr Chua was one of 8,000 people in Singapore who ended up buying an astonishing $375million worth of Lehman's Minibonds.

=> See? Figure changed back to $375M.

Whether DBS High Notes5 or Lehman Minibonds were being dangled, the man in the street with a humble stash of cash suddenly found himself the new darling of banks.
These banks took to modifying products - once the exclusive domain of the wealthy - and lowering the minimum investment sum.
For anything between $5,000 and $25,000, you could buy into structured products, equity-linked notes and hedge funds.
Banks say they introduced these products to meet the needs of increasingly affluent and sophisticated retail investors who were not satisfied parking their money in low-interest fixed deposits.
In Hong Kong, people were snapping up structured products, which they thought to be low-risk and linked to stocks and bonds, as early as 2002.
The Hong Kong market became so saturated - at its peak, six products were rolled out each month - that banks started turning their attention to Singapore and Taiwan.
Singapore, with some US$118billion (S$175billion) sitting in bank deposits in 2004, was ripe for the picking by structured product providers.

=> And Ass Loon and co. were sleeping? Nah, if one could recall, his butch was actively pushing for "increasing the depth of the debt market" in Peesai! Who dares to say no when Princess says yes?

They were appealing, no doubt: Said to be marketed as an alternative to fixed deposits, they gave higher fixed returns at an average of 5per cent with a maturity period.
The reference entities trotted out were also highly rated players: century-old brand-name institutions like Lehman Brothers.
In fact, Lehman's Minibonds in Hong Kong and Singapore were named Best Credit Structured Deal last year by a Hong Kong-based financial magazine, The Asset.

=> Blame HK now?

Its treasury editor, Mr Rodney Diola, told The Sunday Times it used a scoring system based on such criteria as the product's relevance to investors and the capital market; the degree of transparency, simplicity and elegance, innovation and timeliness that characterised the product; and past performance.
'Lehman's Minibond products in Hong Kong enjoyed a well-established track record among investors,' he said in an e-mail interview.
Lehman launched 25 different Minibonds in Hong Kong after its first issue in 2003. By November 2006, the Minibonds had attracted at least US$1.1billion in investor funds around Asia, said Mr Diola.
He conceded that the product did require a sophisticated type of retail investor, and added: 'For this reason, distributors, together with the structurers, should exercise a high degree of responsibility when they are explaining the product to investors. We understand this may not always have been the case.'
Nearly 10 Minibonds were offered in Singapore, of which the values of Series5 and 6 have been determined to be zero.
HSBC Trustee, which is the trustee of the Minibonds programme, is currently trying to find a new swap counterparty to replace Lehman and is due to update investors this week of the results.
DBS Bank, too, said the climate at the time it launched High Notes5 was one of retail investors wanting in on higher-yield products.

=> Ah, after talking so much cock, the aim is to blame Sporns!

It is a sentiment echoed by other financial institutions.
'We offer a suite of alternative investment products that range from government bonds to structured warrants with the aim of providing investors with varying solutions for diversifying their portfolios,' said OCBC Securities' executive director and general manager Yeow Chin Wee.
The firm distributed Minibonds.
And for a time, investors had nothing to complain about.
One investor who put $200,000 into High Notes5 remembers receiving payouts of $2,500 every three months since last year.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO


But by January this year, rumours of Lehman's troubles were already brewing in the financial market.
A former head of an investment bank here said that those working in the financial market had all been aware of Lehman's problem 'for some time'.
'The collapse of Bear Stearns in March, which was also active as an issurer in structured products, should have made DBS more aware of such issuer risks,' he added.
But Mr Rajan Raju, DBS Bank's head of consumer banking group, played down the market talk.
'People keep asking us, could we have predicted this? Yes, there was Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, but nothing had gone under,' he told The Sunday Times in an interview at the bank's headquarters last Friday.
'Even the independent rating agencies hadn't downgraded the entire global or US economy.'

=> Ask for the BEST PAY but use the lowest performance benchmark?

An investor who wanted to be known only as Mrs Tay, 49, claimed she had had a bad feeling shortly after putting $200,000 of her retirement fund into DBS High Notes5 in April last year.
She had shown the prospectus to a lawyer friend and another in finance. Both told her that contrary to what she said she was led to believe, she could get nothing if any one of the eight reference entities bombed.
'I'm the aunty who queues up at POSB with my passbook. I don't even dare to try Internet banking because I'm so scared of losing my money,' said the teacher of her zero-risk appetite.

=> Her students are smarter?

But she said her relationship manager had ticked 'growth' under her risk profile - just one category shy of 'aggressive'.
The first-time investor had since been watching her Notes' performance with jitters.
'When Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Bear Stearns had their meltdowns, I called DBS. I found to my horror the underlying collaterals had these things in it. But they said, don't worry, the basket is intact,' she said.
In June, when she heard rumours that Lehman was ailing, she called her relationship manager who assured her that her investment was still 'A grade'.
While many others like Mrs Tay were also concerned about an impending crisis, some like Mrs S. K. Lim, 59, decided to keep faith with DBS.

=> Just like 66% Sporns have faith in PAPee?

After all, she had received letters from the bank, which repeatedly assured her and other High Notes5 investors that the declining prices of the notes until then represented only 'a paper and not actual loss'.
The letters also reiterated that the notes were 'designed to be held to maturity' along with the kicker that regular coupons or interest would still be 'paid along the way'.
The retired secretary, who invested $25,000 of her retirement funds in High Notes5, received two such letters this year alone.
'They sent one in March and another in June,' she said. 'I understood from both letters and others before that if I held on to the notes, somehow there would be a way out.'
Hold on she did. But by July, her $25,000 had been reduced to about $12,000.
'My July statement came and I saw the losses but yet I held on because of the letters. But now they tell me, my investment is zero,' she said.

=> Moral of the story? Learn how to cut loss! For Sporns, vote out the Papayas and let the new govt to open the book and get back whatever is left from the Familee. Even if it's an empty piggy bank, better to know it now than later!


Alfrescian (Inf)
Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO


Then, Sept15 came.
At DBS Bank, top executives spent the day looking at documents and trying to figure out what Lehman's demise meant, then drafting letters to its High Notes investors, building up FAQs for its relationship managers, and calling for an emergency meeting with them.
On Sept16, stock markets in Japan, Hong Kong, China and South Korea dived as anxious investors reeled from the carnage.
A week later, DBS Bank started an Investor Care Centre (ICC) headed by senior managers. It took care of mounting complaints about mis-selling and other grievances. It has received more than 300 complaints so far.
Some meetings with investors were civil enough, while others exploded into confrontation. One investor recounted how his meeting with a senior employee of the bank on Sept30 degenerated into a staring match.
'I felt badgered. They were butting in and cutting you off in mid-sentence. Many people found them very belligerent. Someone told an investor to go fly a kite,' said another investor who met the team.

=> Cos they know that the Familee would back them up with gookas?


Alfrescian (Inf)
Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO

Mr Raju, who has also spent the last month talking to affected customers at their homes or offices, is aware of such complaints.
'There have been cases where clients came back and told us that the ICC officer was not polite, or was there to defend the bank, etc,' he said.
'In my mind, I'm very clear that the bank values integrity, and if a client feels he has not been heard, not a problem. We'll get someone else to hear him out. That's what we're here for.'

=> In other words, Sporns are LYING?

Over the days, Minibond and High Notes investors started receiving calls from their relationship managers who told them to brace themselves for a big hit to their wallets.
Desperate and angry at the same time, many cried foul, charging their relationship managers with misrepresentation and criticising the banks for putting out risky products to retail investors, many of whom were financially clueless.
Minibond investors wasted no time in organising themselves. On Sept24, some 200 gathered at the National Library to sign a petition which was given to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Up until then, the central bank had been measured - some would say too hands-off - in its approach to the Lehman debacle.

=> measured = bo chup, bo hiew, u die is your own biz?

On Sept22, a week after Lehman's crash, the regulator finally spoke up, asking banks and finance companies to make it a priority to deal with affected investors, and telling investors to go straight to their banks with their complaints.
Two days later, it took a more pro-active stance by ordering financial institutions to appoint an independent party to investigate complaints of mis-selling after similar accusations began to surface.
The gripping daily headlines disturbed one person greatly.
Former NTUC Income chief executive officer Tan Kin Lian has never been a fan of structured products, but he had no idea so many people were mired in it.
'I believe there is something seriously wrong with the creation and marketing of these products, and that there is some possible wrongdoing,' he told The Sunday Times.
He organised two petitions to pressure the authorities to investigate and rallied more than 500 investors at Speakers' Corner last Saturday and again yesterday, to cheers.
'I consider it to be a public duty. If I find that there is something wrong and so many people are affected so badly, it is my responsibility as a citizen to help them to find redress,' he said.
'I am angry that these structured products were allowed to be marketed to retail investors and that they were pushed by the financial institutions which had the responsibility to make the appropriate recommendation to the retail investors,' he said.
Investors and netizens hailed Mr Tan as a national hero, but his comeback was: 'I understand from history that many heroes died in the battle. I hope that I can survive and live to an older age.'
He has also encouraged disgruntled investors to lodge complaints with their banks.
On Friday, MAS made its strongest stance yet on the case when it called on the financial institutions to 'do the right thing' and take special care of lowly educated retiree investors during their investigations into their complaints.
It also told banks not to take an 'overly legalistic' approach when dealing with such cases.

=> Till now, the 154th remained silent on the fact that Ass Loon and his useless dogs are just taking direction from HK govt!

Asked what he hopes to see happen, Mr Tan said: 'I hope that there can be a fair settlement. I hope that the financial institutions will offer to compensate the investors for 50 to 80per cent of their loss.'
Among the hundreds who gathered for the Speakers' Corner rally on Oct11 was Ms Lin Ling, 37, a China-born Singaporean who was persuaded to move $60,000 from her fixed deposit into Minibonds in July this year.

=> As usual, dun forget to pray up the FTrash theme!

'I haven't slept well or eaten well for the past few weeks,' the part-time worker and mother of two young children said in Mandarin.
'The Chinese have always thought the best of Singapore. Now, the behaviour of these financial institutions has completely destroyed this impression. I want them to give me back my money,' she said angrily.
Perhaps buoyed by the investor activism since the episode began, a small group of frustrated investors planned a gathering outside DBS' Shenton Way headquarters last Wednesday to seek out the bank's senior management.
Their plan, however, was foiled when the police got wind of it and issued a warning that it would be illegal.

=> The poodles would have been beaten up and stripped naked if they were to do this in HK and elsewhere! Only in Leegapore are the Peasants being oppressed to such an extent!

In the end, only 11 investors showed up at DBS' door. The bank was expecting them: It deployed a band of staff members armed with refreshments and welcomed them into its auditorium to meet Mr Raju and his team.
They were not alone. Marked police patrol cars and even policemen on foot were circling the buildings. Several other men, dressed in casual T-shirts and jeans but believed to be plainclothes officers, were also trying to blend into the landscape.

=> Got bring videocams along?

One investor and his wife, both retirees, said they had gone there to voice their anger at being misled into buying DBS High Notes5.
'I paid $100,000 to learn a new word called 'credit event',' he said bitterly.
'It's already so embarrassing, so please don't take my picture or quote my name,' he said as he and his wife were leaving the auditorium.

=> And continue to vote the Papayas in the next GE?

Mr Raju said DBS would take responsibility if there had indeed been cases of mis-selling, which means possibly compensating such aggrieved investors.
He said one question he asked his relationship managers at the townhall meeting was: 'Are you sure you sold it the right way?'
'At the end of the day, it's a discussion between the relationship manager and the customer. I got a 'yes' consistently. And that gave me some comfort.'

=> Who would say no? BEST PAID clowns indeed!

High Notes5 was sold at selected DBS branches and never made available at POSB branches since it was targeted at a more sophisticated, affluent audience, he said.
It needed a minimum of $25,000 to participate, while Minibonds were sold at a minimum of $5,000.

Many lessons will surely come out of this wreckage. As it is, MAS has already launched a review of the way structured products are marketed and sold here.
Banks have come out to say they will compensate consumers if investigations show there was mis-selling.
The central bank has also asked the chief executive officers of the various institutions to personally chair internal review panels to study customers' complaints.
The panels should take no longer than four weeks to decide in each case. Those still unsatisfied can go to the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre, which has agreed to hear all 'deserving cases'. (It usually deals only with claims not exceeding $50,000).
Look at the losses in perspective, MAS chairman Goh Chok Tong advised at a Hari Raya dinner last night.
'The global financial crisis came without warning, like a tsunami,' he said.
'Banks have collapsed. Stock prices have plunged. Millions of people in the world, not just in Singapore, have lost money. So we must be realistic in our expectation of recovering all our losses.'

=> Sounds uncannily similar to the Serangoon Gdn saga in which the residents' were given false hope only to be told to move on! As long as Sporns refuse to stand up for their rights and march to the street, nothing will make the Papayas do their job!

Hopefully, those who have had their fingers burnt will take heed.
[email protected]
[email protected] What are your views on the Lehman debacle in Singapore? Send them to [email protected]


Let's Move On!


Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO

Well the Ah Neh FT heading DBS Consumer Banking is someone NOT to be trusted as you all know they are all SNAKES lah!

Man in the streets

Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO

asshole loong ::: what crisis ? tis not my problem, i suppose to smell CCB, cut ribbon, use chillies and onions for F1, and wait for casinos to open so i can mingle with crowd, my jobs are manifold......talk to wooden about this bloody issue, his pay is higher.

Wooden: hello asshole, ok, you want to face the music, i go but the tan KL is so busybody.

asshole loong: i think he wants to be president, can you do something?

wooden::: ok, i know boss but i must see your father and borrow his hatchet.

asshole loong:: then get moving, KNN.


Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO

I did noticed that MAS was slow in acting. Still slow now and tempers are mounting from what I heard in the news. I saw in the news an old lady crying her eyes red. Could have been your mother. Think about it.

Really, what are they waiting for? Christmas?


Alfrescian (Inf)
Re: DBAss Told Minibond Investor to Fly Kite! TKL Hail As Nat'l Hero, Ass Loon As CLO

I did noticed that MAS was slow in acting. Still slow now and tempers are mounting from what I heard in the news. I saw in the news an old lady crying her eyes red. Could have been your mother. Think about it.

Really, what are they waiting for? Christmas?

Good point on the mother part. When the likes of clintonxxx, cassyyy, divzzz and myo#### are licking their owners' kar chng, they are assuming that their relatives are not affected. But let's see what they say when they or their relatives kena.