The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank and financial regulatory authority, announced this Wednesday that it has issued prohibition warnings against six individuals. The six individuals, some of whom worked for Citibank and Prudential, will be proscribed from working in a variety of functions within the financial services industry.
MAS issues prohibition orders against anyone who engages in the improper switching of client funds or forgery. The regulator also applies them to anyone that makes false or misleading statements to clients when providing financial advice and individuals who provide financial advice without due consideration of clients’ financial situation.
Today’s prohibition orders will prevent the six individuals from providing any financial advisory services. They will also be forbidden from managing, acting as directors or becoming significant shareholders in financial advisory firms. The prohibition periods range from two to seven years.
Forgery and lies
On the high end of the spectrum, David Hiah Xinka, formerly of Prudential Assurance, was given a seven-year prohibition order. Xinka was found to have forged clients’ signatures to effect fund switches out of fears that they were going to withdraw funds and he would face internal punishment.
A Citibank employee, Zheng Xuemei, was given a softer penalty of two years by the MAS for lying to a client. Zheng told the client that his structured note was called back by the issuer when this was not the case and, accordingly, the client executed an early redemption of his structured note. On top of this, Zheng tried to avoid Citibank’s scrutiny by making a false sales statement regarding the client’s execution.
Commenting on the prohibition orders, Lee Boon Ngiap, Assistant Managing Director at MAS, 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.”