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Felix Shipkevich February 11, 2010

The full release:

Singapore, 11 February 2010… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today gave an update on the actions undertaken by financial institutions to comply with the formal directions issued by MAS [1]  following our investigation into the sale and marketing of structured notes linked to Lehman Brothers. [Please Click here to view the Investigation report Press Release].

2. DBS Bank Ltd, Malayan Banking Berhad Singapore Branch and the Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. Singapore Branch[2], have formally confirmed to MAS that they have taken measures to rectify all the weaknesses identified in MAS’ investigations.  They have also reviewed and strengthened internal processes and procedures for the provision of financial advisory services across all investment products.

3. Under MAS’ directions, the financial institutions were required to appoint an external person to review their action plan and report on its implementation. DBS Bank Ltd appointed KPMG LLP (KPMG) while Malayan Banking Berhad Singapore Branch and the Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. Singapore Branch, appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) as their external person. The external persons have completed their review, and have reported their findings and recommendations for enhancements to the financial institutions.  Based on their review, KPMG and PwC are satisfied with the action plans and their implementation by the financial institutions.

4. The three financial institutions have publicly pledged their commitment to effectively implement various measures on an ongoing basis in order to deliver fair dealing outcomes to their customers.  These include reviewing their remuneration framework, stepping up training and supervision of their staff and enhancing the sales and advisory process.  MAS will hold the Board and Senior Management of the financial institutions accountable for meeting this commitment.

5. MAS will lift the ban on the sale of structured notes for DBS Bank Ltd, Malayan Banking Berhad Singapore Branch and the Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. Singapore Branch with effect from 12 February 2010. While MAS has lifted the ban, DBS has assured MAS that in order to uphold a consistent set of standards across the region, it will not sell structured notes to retail customers anywhere in the group until it has rolled out enhanced measures and sales processes in all its key markets. This includes Singapore, even though the measures have already been implemented here.

6. The status of the MAS’ directions for the other financial institutions are as follows:

DMG & Partners Securities Pte Ltd and UOB Kay Hian Pte Ltd have asked MAS for additional time to work with their external persons to ensure that the enhanced measures put in place are sufficiently robust and in accordance with MAS’ directions.

The ban on the sale of structured notes continues for the remaining four financial institutions – CIMB-GK Securities Pte Ltd, Kim Eng Securities Pte Ltd, OCBC Securities Pte Ltd and Phillip Securities Pte Ltd – until the end of the period of their ban.  MAS will only lift the ban when we are satisfied with the measures they have put in place.

Hong Leong Finance Limited has voluntarily ceased the provision of new financial advisory services, including the sale of structured notes.

7. To help consumers make informed decisions, MoneySENSE has published a consumer guide “Making Sense of Structured Products”.  MAS encourages consumers to refer to this guide before deciding whether to invest in a structured note. Developed jointly with the Association of Banks in Singapore and the Securities Investors Association (Singapore), the guide explains key features of structured notes, the risks involved and what consumers should look out for when investing in such products.  This guide is available at http://www.moneysense.gov.sg/publications/guides_publications/structured_notes.html

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[1]   MAS issued formal directions to ten financial institutions (Please click here to view Annex 1)to cease dealing in and providing financial advisory services for structured notes for periods ranging from a minimum of six months to a minimum of two years with effect from 1 July 2009. The financial institutions had been directed to rectify all the weaknesses identified by the investigations and to review and strengthen all internal processes and procedures for the provision of financial advisory services across all investment products. In addition, the financial institutions were required to appoint an external person to review their action plan and report on its implementation, and appoint a member of the institution’s senior management to oversee compliance with MAS’ direction.

[2] The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. Singapore Branch was formerly known as ABN AMRO Bank N.V. Singapore Branch.

18 thoughts on “MAS will lift the ban on the sale of structured notes for DBS Bank Ltd

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