Thursday, November 15, 2012

State Funds Mess...

Fund mess: KMT-DPP wrangling is ongoing...
The Presidential Office yesterday declined former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) call for the president to hold a national affairs conference to discuss problems related to the various pension programs, saying that pension issues are being taken care of by the executive and legislative branches.
The Council of Labor Affairs has been taking heat over the management of NT$ 2 trillion in funds. For example:
After news surfaced that the labor funds would go bankrupt within the next decade, additional information was revealed suggesting that the funds had suffered multimillion-dollar losses due to deliberate manipulation of stock prices by individual operators.
and from Tuesday's China Post:
Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said during an interpellation session that the operation of the four largest government funds are all consigned to six investment banks. Although the profit margin was set to be 8.436 percent, the actual profit margins from 2009 to 2010 ranged from minus 7.2 percent to 3.78 percent. The weighted stock index, however, was up by 6.89 percent.


In response, Chang said he will ask officials to investigate whether any of the six banks have conducted certain practices such as buying stocks of companies that apparently suffered from losses. Officials will also check the accounts of investors and their family members to look for any suspicious income. Officials will also look into whether investors were bidding against each other using government funds.

Former ING fund manager Hsieh Cing-liang (謝青良) has been under investigation for allegedly purchasing a large number of stocks in Ablerex Electronics Company (盈正豫順電子) in an attempt to push up the stock price, and later used the labor pension fund and labor insurance fund to purchase these stocks. Hsieh walked away with NT$14 million, while government funds accumulated losses of NT$144 million.

KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said on Nov. 10 that the labor pension fund, the labor insurance fund and the public service pension fund lost NT$300 million in total through purchasing stocks of GIGA Solar Materials Corp. (禾碩電子材料) at NT$900 per share and selling these stocks at between NT$400 to NT$600 per share.
Turning over giant sums to financial firms who mismanaged them? Who could have suspected financial firms would do such a thing? That's never happened before! This mess triggered an investigation by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) into the management of these funds, which in turned spurred our slothful legislature to spend a few minutes on the nation's business and look into the NT$2 trillion in other funds... yes, you guessed it, the oversight system for these funds is, well, spotty, and not managed the way it is in other countries. As the article points out, the four major funds, labor insurance, labor pension, employment insurance and national pension, cumulatively lost roughly NT$90 billion this year and if the claims are correct, their growth would have been better if they had simply been pegged to the TAIEX. The lights shining in dark corners are also prompting the city of Taipei to look into its own pension program. These funds need to be on a firm footing since the population is aging....
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.

No comments: