Worried Singapore investors line up at MF Global to salvage doomed investments

Dozens of worried local investors lined up at the MF Global office throughout the day seeking to recoup their money, but all they received was a form to complete after being told no money would be disbursed until liquidators wound down the bankrupt US brokerage.

hidden November 02, 2011 17:13:50 IST
Worried Singapore investors line up at MF Global to salvage doomed investments

Retail investors in Singapore trying to salvage their doomed investments from the local MF Global office were left frustrated and empty-handed on Wednesday after they were told their trading positions were closed and their funds were frozen.

Dozens of worried local investors lined up at the MF Global office throughout the day seeking to recoup their money, but all they received was a form to complete after being told no money would be disbursed until liquidators wound down the bankrupt US brokerage.

"Of course I'm afraid I may not get back anything, that is why I am here," said Andre Chia, a 32-year-old pilot. "I'm waiting for the liquidation, MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), maybe I'll end up at the Speakers' Corner," he added, referring to the only place in Singapore where protesters can gather without a permit.

Worried Singapore investors line up at MF Global to salvage doomed investments

Liquidators from KPMG have assured MF Global customers in Singapore that they are working to ensure all money in client accounts is returned to them. Reuters

In the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, hundred of Singaporeans gathered at Speakers' Corner to protest their losses from mini-bonds linked to the failed US bank.

Liquidators from KPMG have assured MF Global customers in Singapore that they are working to ensure all money in client accounts is returned to them.

However several investors vented their anger that they were closed out of trading positions at a loss, with no option to wait for the market to turn.

"I feel uneasy, I don't know how much I will lose. If I have to cut losses, I have to know how much I will lose," said 57-year-old John Wong, who had invested around S$8,000($6,259) with the brokerage.

Around 20 investors went to the office on Wednesday afternoon, while local media reported that at least 60 people converged on the premises that morning.

But the concerns were not confined just to MF Global clients in Singapore, where retail investing is hugely popular. Several other brokerages in the city-state used the US firm as a counterparty to their contract-for-difference (CFD) products, a popular retail investment product.

AMFraser said on its web site that from Nov 1, MF Global stopped all trading in CFDs.

"As such, we have no market access and clients will not be able to close out CFD positions for the time being," it wrote in a note to clients.

Brokers Kim Eng and CIMB also had to freeze access to their CFD products, although Kim Eng said on its web site on Wednesday that it had restored limited access to allow positions to be unwound while CIMB told clients to contact them.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a statement released on Tuesday that it will work with MF Global Singapore and the liquidators to achieve an "equitable treatment of all stakeholders."

Reuters

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