Op Ed : Hey, That’s My Friend Chong

RBS Said to Suspend Trader Over Interest Rate Rigging

People say that I should keep my mouth shut and that it is better not to talk about these things or we could implicate ourselves.

Well, I have decided to speak up about the matter because, firstly, I do not know the Mr Tan Chi Min who is the principal subject of a certain law suit; secondly, I do know Chong Wen Kuang, the senior trader whose name has been quite defamed in the news; and thirdly, I believe I had the misfortune to have lost money in my career because of fixings (possibly from my own stupidity ?) which I cannot claim the honour/dishonor of contributing to.

Before we all yank out the red cards and blow the whistle at Singapore’s SOR fixing system, let us be circumspect here.

The central reason for this hullabaloo is not a government led inquiry but a law suit by a Mr Tan Chi Min against RBS for wrongful dismissal and mainly, for the return of several million in forfeited shares.

This is my humble opinion.

It is laughably unfortunate and an almost ludicrous notion that SOR in Singapore can be manipulated by one bank ? When SOR is derived from forward points submitted by a panel of over a dozen banks using Libor that is similarly submitted by another panel of banks.

Surely it would seem that Mr Tan, who admitted to manipulating Libor, is further incriminating himself to potentially manipulating SOR now that he alleges that his junior colleague (Mr Tan has a fancy Chief Dealer title as reported in the FT) is involved in the rigging. I believe that Mr Tan would have been trading the same product to be aware of any wrongdoing.

It is an inextricable situation that he has gotten himself into even suggesting that perhaps Mr Tan had imported the culture into the bank in his capacity as a head of desk.

I will not speculate more from here as I am not privy to the information and circumstances involved in the case. I am also not here to pass judgment on anyone. That I am acquainted with Chong is irrelevant here.

Traders all have to take a Blue Book Code of Conduct test, vowing to act in highest professionalism at all times. The code of honor does not condone profiteering by illegal means.

That high flying names in the derivatives marketplace have all been implicated by authorities around the world, reflects true decay in the roots of the financial system that makes up the economies of countries.

It is so easy for us to shake our heads, shrug our shoulders and move on from this episode of burying the little scapegoat who has no chance to ever say his piece.

As for me, I am waiting for the verdict of the other case.

What fortune has made yours is not your own. -Seneca