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For the stock market, confidence is everything

Published Wed, Sep 7, 2022 · 07:27 PM

THE president of the Society of Remisiers (SOR), Singapore has called for an Ombudsman Office to be set up that would help retail investors seek recourse for investments that had failed through fraud or other, possibly criminal, irregularities.

The call followed a S$12.6 million civil penalty meted out on commodities trading firm Noble Group for misleading information in its financial statements - an amount some see as a slap on the wrist compared to the billions in market cap that had been wiped out by Noble’s collapse.

The idea of an ombudsman is a good one that deserves to be explored. Retail investors for far too long have had to passively accept that the meaning of “caveat emptor’’ in the local stock market extends to possibly losing all their money through fraudulent disclosures, questionable accounting, manipulation and negligent directors – or in some cases, all of the above. Having an Ombudsman would surely go some way towards addressing this concern.

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