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Singaporean bank DBS Bank we learned today was sued by a “sophisticated” investor, meaning in this case someone with a lot of assets at hand…or to lose. She claims she was given worthless advice causing her to lose millions. So what exactly was the investment advice given to the woman?
Singapore’s most widely read newspaper The Straght Times reported that the woman suing alleges that the bank had misled her into buying worthless options meant to protect her against volatile movements in FX when the Aussie dollar was falling in late 2011.
More specifically, in September 2011, the falling Australian dollar caused the woman suing – Ms. Suryawan, who was acquiring the currency through structured products known as accumulators, to suffer massive losses. After DBS closed out her margin positions, the total balance of her accounts with the bank fell from USD $6.2 million to about USD $410,000.
The businesswoman lost around $6 million USD (S$8.4 million) conducting Forex trades with the bank and is now seeking to restore her accounts to their levels before the bank closed out her trading positions. The lawsuit was opened on Monday, November 2nd.
The bank claims it was not responsible, contending that Ms. Suryawan was a sophisticated and experienced investor who relied on her own judgment in deciding to buy the options.
So does the case have merit, and is the bank a responsible fiduciary here?
The woman’s lawyer argued that DBS was negligent in advising her about the Forex options, and made false representations about the protection offered.
When the Aussie kept falling and she was approaching margin levels, she reminded him of the options purchased to supposedly protect her positions, but was “astonished” when the DBS Bank employee replied that the ones she bought did not protect her.
A Senior Counsel for DBS, contends that she understood how the options worked and that the bank was not obliged to give investment advice.
This is a case to follow and we’ll be sure to follow up on any developments, stay tuned to LeapRate…