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Wrong deductions for Prudential customers in May due to 'file format change'; MAS reviewing findings

PRUDENTIAL Singapore and Standard Chartered Bank on Friday said the wrong deductions of Prudential premium charges that affected more than 20,000 Prudential Singapore customers in May were "an isolated incident arising from an introduction of a file format change that was used for premium collection on the same day".

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it is reviewing the findings and the appropriate supervisory action to be taken.

"MAS has received the investigation reports submitted by both financial institutions and is reviewing the reports to assess the adequacy of their change management and incident handling processes. We will engage both financial institutions on any gaps and will take supervisory actions, where appropriate," said a spokesman. The regulator added that it noted the remedial actions of both parties, "including the prompt rectification of affected policyholders’ accounts".

Both institutions said the issue has since been fully rectified. Both said they have put in place additional measures to prevent this from happening in future and have successfully completed subsequent rounds of deduction in June. 

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They also apologised for the incident. StanChart thanked respective banks for working with it to reverse all affected transactions within 24 hours.

Some 22,000 Prudential customers in Singapore were affected by a "technical glitch" on May 24 that led to what is likely an unprecedented error in deductions of monthly insurance premiums.

Because the all-crucial decimal point was missed in certain deductions, GIRO deductions that would typically be in hundreds of dollars ballooned to tens of thousands instead, according to social media posts. This 100-times error may be the first such incident in Singapore, observers said.