5/29/2009

Say a word for the little people

Many Singaporeans are involved in the stock market. Some have fallen victims to the harsh and excessive penalties imposed by the SGX for small mistakes that they made while trading, ie, selling shares that they did not own. To err is human. A slight mistake like this will cause the small investors a $1000 fine! This may be chicken feed to the big boys in SGX who only know money in the millions and millions. So setting a $1000 penalty for a minor mistake may be very kind in their eyes, but it is a big sum of money to many people. The SGX’s justification is to curb short selling that will affect the market, or cause more work to buy in for their staff. What utter rubbish. The 5 lots or 20 lots that a small investor sold by mistake, intentional or otherwise, will have minimal or no impact on the price of the shares. It is the big boys that short sell in hundreds of thousands, or millions, that will distort the market in their favour. They should be the one that needs to be hauled up and punished. The second reason is more unreasonable. Buying in is the job of the SGX. They cannot penalize small investors with a sledgehammer because they did not like to do it, too many buy ins too troublesome. The more freaking thing is that the small investors are the customers of the SGX. And when they make mistakes, instead of helping them, they got slammed with a sledghammer. How's that for taking good care of your customers? What kind of attitude is this? Small investors tremble in fear when they make such a mistake and pay heavily for it. And they are not commiting a crime against anyone. I think in the courts of law, many more serious crimes could be fined for less than a $1000. Here we are talking about a human error. Now, while Parliament is in session, I can only hope that some MPs would raise this issue for the sake of the small investors. The small investors are simply helpless in the face of such unreasonable, disproportionate and costly penalty. Or maybe the sum of $1000 is also too small in the eyes of the MPs and no one thinks that this is an issue.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Redbean,

Quit quibbling about this paltry sum. The market is going up up and away. Make some money before you are left behind. The fine should be pegged to the number of shares short sold. The intention is good to curb the downward spiral of prices but the method of going about it can be tweaked.

Wally Buffet.

Anonymous said...

FYI, such feedback was communicated to them but they were ignored. Think of how much administrative work for short covering, appeal and stuff. All these could have been avoided for small short positions due to genuine mistakes.

redbean said...

yes wally, this is the time to make some money. but one cannot forget those in trouble and quite a number are hit by this highhanded ruling. just because one is rich one should ignore the losers.

sgx shld revise this ruling to a simpler form to take into consideration that mistakes will be made by people and they should not be unduly punished. yes, sgx shld not be bogged down with all the appeals when they are trying to create lesser work.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> Many Singaporeans are involved in the stock market. Some have fallen victims < There cannot be any "victims" in the stockmarket because people enter into it voluntarily accepting the FACT that they could lose money as , well as they can make money.

The government has no place in the stockmarket whatsoever. The proper role of the government is to enforce contract law, and nothing more.

redbean said...

matilah, i am referring to victims of this heavy $1000 penalty. you don't whack your customers who are bringing you the dole with this kind of fine for a human error.

Matilah_Singapura said...

I already made my statement: the govt has no place in the stockmarket. I'll bet the govt is putting the screws on the sgx, who in turn have little choice but to police their customers in a heavy-handed (government style) manner.