Unscrupulous advisers hit Singapore’s CPF investors

December 24, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Unscrupulous financial advisers are manipulating investments of low-income Singaporeans using savings from their mandatory retirement funds.

DPA

Unscrupulous financial advisers, some of whom are teaming with loan sharks, are manipulating investments of low-income Singaporeans using savings from their mandatory retirement funds, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The Central Provident Fund (CPF), the funds’ manager, has issued warnings about the schemes, and the central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, has expressed concern about the increasing manipulation of the CPF-linked investments that the financial advisers are using to churn out investment deals.

Thirty-five financial advisers have been warned and seven suspended, said the report by the Straits Times, which also cited industry observers as saying a few hundred advisers are operating the illegal network.

The advisers have their low-income investors sign blank authorization forms so the advisers can make investments on their behalf. The forms are then used to liquidate positions in CPF investments as often as twice a month to generate business or churn out deals.

The financial advisers earn 2 to 3 per cent of sales charges by reinvesting the money while generating cash rebates for the investors, who usually welcome the rebate earnings. The practice, however, is illegal, a CPF official told the newspaper.

Some of the financial advisers have taken their investment plans further by colluding with loan sharks or illegal moneylenders who offer loans to the usually small-time CPF investors and pocket the rebates.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/business/news/article_1521231.php/Unscrupulous-advisers-hit-Singapore-s-CPF-investors