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MAS bans six in misconduct sweep

Banned from providing financial advice services in Singapore are former Citibank, Prudential and AIA employees after they were found to have mis-sold investment products.
MAS bans six in misconduct sweep

On 17 May, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (Mas) announced it had issued prohibition orders against six individuals following a series of wide ranging investigations.

Mas said the investigation found that the individuals had committed misconduct including forgery, making false or misleading statements to clients when providing financial advice, making false representations to the insurer, and providing financial advice without due consideration of their clients’ financial situation.

Sending a message

Lee Boon Ngiap, assistant managing director of the Mas capital markets team, said: “Representatives of financial institutions who give advice on financial products have a duty of care to their customers.

“Mas will take stern action against representatives who betray the trust placed in them and provide false or misleading information or give irresponsible advice to their customers.

“Mas will publicise these actions to send a clear message that such misconduct will not be tolerated and that, where warranted, we will not hesitate to weed out errant representatives from the industry,” Lee said.

In early May, Mas banned a former Credit Suisse banker for deliberately concealing the identity of the true beneficial owners of three bank accounts.

Six prohibited

The prohibition orders were issued against David Hiah Xinkai and Nigel Chua Bingquan, both former Prudential Assurance Singapore employees.

Three former AIA Assurance Singapore advisers; Heng Goid Hoon, Koh Mei Ling and Jane Yeo Hui Rong, were also banned, as was Zheng Xuemei, a former representative of Citibank Singapore.

It means the six individuals cannot provide financial advice or take part in the management, act as a director, or become a substantial shareholder in any financial advisory firm for periods ranging from two to seven years.

Worst offender

Hiah from Prudential was deemed to have committed the most serious misconduct out of the six individuals and was issued the longest prohibition time, being seven years.

He was found to have forged the signatures of several policyholders to effect fund switches in their investment-linked policies without their knowledge or consent.

“Hiah did so as he was concerned that the policyholders would surrender their policies and that he would face disciplinary action by Prudential if the surrenders took place,” a Mas spokesperson said.

“He also intentionally provided false or misleading information relating to his clients’ personal details to Prudential when arranging insurance contracts for his clients.

“This resulted in his clients losing their policy rights while Mr Hiah earned commissions from the sale of the insurance contracts.”

Regulatory clampdown

The Singapore regulator has been very active in recent years, following the investigation into scandal-plagued wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Mas has shut down local branches of Swiss banks, including Falcon Private Bank and BSI Bank, for serious failures in anti-money laundering controls and improper conduct.

In May 2017, Credit Suisse and UOB were fined for their respective links to 1MDB.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.