PIBA Refuses to Handle ILAS Complaint without Confidentiality Agreement while also Distorting the Nature of the Complaint

To the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance:

You earlier notified me that PIBA should be handling Ms Leung’s case (copied below). I am writing to notify you that PIBA cannot handle her case. I presume this means that only OCI can now do it. The reason PIBA can’t handle it is because one of their preconditions is that we stop talking to the media. We cannot agree to this because more than a decade of history has proven that ILAS regulators will do nothing to resolve our main complaint without external pressure, and we believe our only hope of seeing justice is if the media is involved. If the regulators aren’t in the public spotlight, there is little chance that all guilty parties will be held accountable for their wrongdoings.

I am also writing to complain about what seems like an attempt by PIBA to distort the nature of Ms Leung’s complaint. They sent a letter to my P.O. Box with the following subject heading: Re: Complaint against Technical Representative of Convoy Financial Services Ltd (“Convoy”) (Membership No.: M0066).

It should be clear to anyone who has read my emails that Ms Leung and I have not been focusing our complaint solely against the Technical Representative, Cat Lau. Actually, we think she holds little responsibility. We are far more angry at Convoy’s executives for training and incentivizing their employees to sell a rotten investment product for the purpose of profiting at the expense of their clients’ best interests. Convoy’s executives are the architects of this corrupt business model and should ultimately hold the bulk of the responsibility.

Further, none of my emails ever had a subject title saying “Complaint against Technical Representative of Convoy”. They all said “Complaint Against Convoy” or “Complaint Against Standard Life”. So why does it seem that PIBA is trying to frame our complaint as if Cat Lau is the only one who did anything wrong? It makes me wonder whether PIBA is trying to use Cat Lau as a scapegoat in order to protect the executives at Convoy. Since it is a self-regulatory body, I presume PIBA is being funded by Convoy and other broker members, and I also presume that executives at PIBA work for the same companies that they’re supposed to be regulating (perhaps including Convoy). It is unreasonable to expect that PIBA will be able to handle our case in an objective manner. I hope OCI, with the media holding a spotlight on it, can do a better job.

I only check my post office box once every week or two. A couple of days ago I checked it and found a letter from PIBA that was postmarked Tuesday of last week (June 11). I suspect PIBA sent this letter after they received knowledge that the South China Morning Post was going to publish a story on Chung Yan’s case the following Monday (June 17). In the letter, they asked Chung Yan to sign a Confidentiality Agreement form which was attached to the letter. In effect, they were asking her to stop talking to SCMP. I am attaching copies of that letter to this email.

This evening, I visited PIBA to confirm whether PIBA would handle Chung Yan’s case without her signing the confidentiality agreement. The man I talked to, who was a high-level executive, said PIBA would not take the case if she didn’t sign. I told him there was no point to sign it because all of the information was already public, since it had been the headline of the Business Section of the South China Morning Post website for 4 straight days. Unprompted, he began to tell me that the SCMP story was one-sided and unfair, which supported my suspicions that PIBA itself was not objective or fair.

I went on to ask him why PIBA reframed our complaint to single out Cat Lau when we were clearly complaining about Convoy as a whole, and its executives in particular. He beat around the bush until he threw me a sarcastic rhetorical question: “So there was no problem with her sales?” At this point I lost my temper and started shouting and cursing, saying something to the effect that ILAS was an f-ing piece of sh** that rips off everyone who buys it, that Convoy has no excuse for training employees to sell it, and that Convoy is a corporate criminal. He seemed to me to be defending Convoy, so I demanded an answer: Who do you work for? Who are you trying to protect? The guilty brokers or the innocent public? The criminals or the victims? By this point he threatened to call the cops, and I think he actually called security inside the building. I don’t blame him for doing it because I was furious and probably disturbing other people, but I won’t apologize for my opinion or my anger. It’s hard to keep calm when trying to reason with a so-called regulator who seems to be defending an entire corrupt industry guilty of fleecing thousands and thousands of people. He told me: “I can’t talk to you. Your manner is too bad. I’m sorry.” I said, “You shouldn’t be sorry to me. You should be sorry to the people of Hong Kong.”

I have an audio recording of this event if there is ever a dispute over what happened. And PIBA can rest assured that I will never set foot in their office again because there is nothing they can help me with and nothing I want them to help me with.

I am cc-ing this message to regulators and the media.

Lindell Lucy

 

On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 4:58 PM, <iamail@oci.gov.hk> wrote:

Dear Mr. Lucy,

We refer to your emails of 28 May and 3 June 2013 addressed to our office, the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, the Securities and Futures Commission and Convoy Financial Services Ltd. (“Convoy”) regarding the complaint from Ms. Leung Chung Yan (“Ms. Leung”) against Standard Life (Asia) Limited (“Standard Life”) and Convoy. 
                                
The contents of your emails have been duly noted.  Under the self-regulatory system for insurance brokers, Ms. Leung’s complaint against Convoy should be handled by the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (“PIBA”), an approved body of insurance brokers with which Convoy is registered as a broker member.

We have contacted PIBA and are given to understand that they have already received the same complaint from you.  PIBA would be looking into the matter and taking follow-up actions as appropriate.  We would follow up with PIBA in this respect.

As Standard Life is the insurer which issued the policy concerned in this complaint, we have also contacted Standard Life and requested it to investigate the complaint with a view to responding to you on the issues raised therein.

Our office will continue to follow up your case.  If you have any doubt about the above or any queries regarding the case, please feel free to contact our staff.

Yours sincerely,

(Edmund Chow)
for Commissioner of Insurance
(Insurance Authority)

PIBA Letter 1 (Redacted and Resized)

PIBA Letter 2 (Redacted and Resized)

PIBA Letter 3 [Resized]

PIBA Letter 4 (Confidentiality Agreement) [Resized]

PIBA Letter 5 (Consent Agreement) [Resized]

SCMP Business Section

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