Resources

If you are doing research about ILAS and other insurance ripoffs, or if you are a victim wanting to file a complaint or a lawsuit, the links below should be useful.

ILAS Brochures

Complete List of All ILAS Products Authorized by the SFC, along with Some Product Brochures, Published by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)

Statistics

Annual and Quarterly ILAS Business Statistics, 2001 – 2014, Published by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) – ILAS data is listed under “Linked Individual Life”.

Complaints Filed With the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA)

Complaints Filed with the Confederation of Insurance Brokers (CIB)

Complaints Filed with the Insurance Agents Registration Board (IARB)

Laws

Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (Corrupt transactions with agents)
Maximum punishment for offense is 7 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 HKD

Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance (Fraud)
Maximum punishment for offense is 14 years imprisonment

Section 114 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Restriction on Conducting Business in Regulated Activities without an Appropriate SFC License)
Maximum punishment for offense is $5 million HKD and 7 years imprisonment

Section 103 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Offence to issue advertisements, invitations or documents relating to investments in certain cases)
Maximum punishment for offense is $500,000 HKD and 3 years imprisonment
[NOTE: When insurance brokers distribute unauthorized funds to retail investors indirectly via portfolio bonds (the fund is technically bought by the insurance company, not the investor), it is an offense to give investors a copy of the fund’s information / marketing documents, as these documents have not been authorized by the SFC.)]

Section 77 of the Insurance Companies Ordinance (Unlicensed Insurance Brokers)  (A person who holds himself out to be an insurance broker who is not an authorized insurance broker commits an offence and is liable (a) on conviction upon indictment to a fine of $1000000 and to imprisonment for 2 years; and (b) on summary conviction to a fine at level 6 and to imprisonment for 6 months.)

Schedule 1 of the SFO (Defines several key terms)

Schedule 5 of the SFO (Defines regulated activities) 

Schedule 1 of the Insurance Companies Ordinance (Defines Classes of Insurance Business)

Section 36 of the Crimes Ordinance (False statutory declarations and other false statements without oath)
Maximum punishment for offense is a fine and 2 years imprisonment

Section 25 of the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of indictable offence)
Maximum punishment for offense is a fine of $5 million HKD and 14 years imprisonment
[Note: This law is related to money laundering, which is the act of making “dirty” money (illegally gotten) appear as if it were legitimately gotten.]

Section 25A of the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Disclosure of knowledge or suspicion that property represents proceeds, etc. of indictable offence)
Maximum punishment for offense is a fine of $50,000 and 3 months imprisonment.
[Note: This law is related to money laundering. If someone (such as a bond provider) is aware of another person (such as an insurance broker) obtaining money illegally, but does not report this information to authorities, the person has committed an offense.]

Section 82 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Tax Evasion / Tax Fraud)
Maximum punishment for offense is $50,000 HKD fine + triple the amount evaded + 3 years imprisonment
[Note: Sources say that some insurance brokers hide fund commissions offshore to evade corporate taxes and to avoid violating Section 114 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance.] 

Hong Kong Competition Ordinance (Anti-Trust Laws)

Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 2014 (The bill establishes a new insurance regulator, the Independent Insurance Authority (IIA). The bill also will legally require insurance intermediaries to act in the best interest of clients.)

Lawsuits

Judgement – Jeremy Hobbins vs. Skandia and Clearwater (Famous lawsuit in which undisclosed ILAS commissions were argued to be a form of bribery)

Cost in the Mists of Time – This is an article about the Hobbins lawsuit in the South China Morning Post.

Germany: Landmark decisions in the mis-selling of unit-linked life insurance policies – Article about a lawsuit in Germany where the court decided that ILAS was an investment (not insurance).

A lawsuit in Singapore which was settled out of court — I visited Singapore last summer and obtained a copy of the court documents before this case was settled. It involved an American family who sued their financial adviser for mis-selling them a couple of ILAS products, which caused them hundreds of thousands of US dollars of tax penalties, accounting bills, and legal bills. (Note: ILAS is a disaster for Americans. See this blog post: “American ILAS Victims Could Face Criminal Prosecution after FATCA“.) Anyone interested in learning more about this lawsuit may contact me for more information (lindelll@gmail.com).

Regulations, Circulars, Codes of Conduct

SFC – 31 Oct 1996 – Introduction of ILAS Illustration Document (In Response to Complaints)

Consumer Council – 15 January 2004  – Warning for Consumers to Avoid ILAS

SFC – 23 February 2005 – Report on Selling Practices of Licensed Investment Advisers

OCI – 4 June 2007 – Responsibilities of Insurance Intermediaries Selling ILAS

SFC – 13 August 2009 – Clarification of ILAS Licensing Requirements

SFC – 23 June 2010 – Code on ILAS

HKFI – 1 February 2010 – Code of Practice for Life Insurance Replacement

HKMA – 14 March 2011 – Enhanced ILAS Regulations

CIB – 22 July 2011 – Regulations for Brokers Selling ILAS

CIB – Code of Conduct for Insurance Brokers

HKFI – Code of Conduct for Insurers

SFC – 17 Aug 2012 – Insurance agents convicted of selling investment fund without licences

MPFA – September 2012 – Code of Conduct for Registered Intermediaries

HKMA – 22 April 2013 – More Enhanced ILAS Regulations

HKFI – 22 April 2013 – Updated ILAS Regulations

SFC – 3 May 2013 – Enhance Disclosure Requirements for ILAS

Consumer Council – 16 September 2013 – Warning to Consumers about High ILAS Fees

SFC – October 2013 – Code of Conduct

HKFI – 22 October 2013 – FAQ on Updated ILAS Regulations

PIBA – 1 March 2014 – Updated Code of Conduct

OCI – 30 July 2014 – Ban on Indemnity Commissions and Unfair Charges (GN 15)

HKFI – 8 December 2014 – Updated ILAS Regulations

HKMA – 8 December 2014 – Mystery Shopping Programme Findings

HKMA – 8 December 2014 – Enhance Regulation of Non-ILAS Insurance Products

OCI – 10 December 2014 – GN 15 (Second Edition) – Ban on Indemnity and Unfair Charges

HKMA – 17 December 2014 – Update on ILAS Commission Disclosure Requirements

SFC – 22 December 2014 – Mystery Shopping Programme Findings

Filing a Complaint

List of Emails for all of the Below Organizations
Note: For convenience, if you would like to send a complaint to some or all of the below organizations simultaneously, I have listed all of their email addresses here at the top, so that you can simply copy and paste:
iamail@oci.gov.hkcomplaint@sfc.hkbankcomplaints@hkma.gov.hkgeneral@icac.org.hkcrimeinformation@police.gov.hkcc@consumer.org.hkmpfa@mpfa.org.hkhkfi@hkfi.org.hkinfo@piba.org.hkinfo@hkcib.orgcomplaints@ombudsman.hkbc_06_13@legco.gov.hkiia_consultation@fstb.gov.hkfso@fso.gov.hk

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI)
Website: http://www.oci.gov.hk/about/index08.html
Email: iamail@oci.gov.hk
Phone: 2867 2565
Address: 21st Floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.
Note: You can file a complaint against any insurance company, insurance agent, or insurance broker with OCI. Your complaint will be forwarded to the relevant self-regulatory organization (PIBA, CIB IARB). OCI will monitor their handling of your complaint. It would be foolish to file a complaint with a self-regulatory organization without notifying OCI, as your complaint may not be handled in a fair manner.

Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)
Website: http://www.sfc.hk/web/EN/lodge-a-complaint/
Email: complaint@sfc.hk
Phone: 2231 1222 (press 2 after selecting your preferred language)
Address: 35/F, Cheung Kong Center, 2 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong
Relevant Laws: Section 114 and Section 103 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance
Note: If your insurance broker has an SFC license and he/she has breached SFC regulations or the SFC Code of Conduct, you can file a complaint with the SFC. (You can do a search on the SFC’s website to see if your broker has an SFC license.) If your insurance broker/agent violated the Securities and Futures Ordinance, regardless of whether they hold an SFC license, you can file a complaint against them with the SFC. Self-regulated insurance brokers are terrified of SFC!!!

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)
Website: http://www.hkma.gov.hk/eng/other-information/contact-us.shtml
Email: bankcomplaints@hkma.gov.hk
Phone: 2878 8196
Address: 55th Floor, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Note: If you were sold a ripoff insurance policy in a bank, then you file your complaint with HKMA, as it is the bank regulator. You can also send the complaint to OCI.

Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
Website: http://www.icac.org.hk/en/report_corruption/index.html
Email: general@icac.org.hk
Phone: 25 266 366
Address: G/F, 303 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Hours: Open 24 Hours
Relevant Law: Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance
Note: If you were sold an insurance policy by a broker, then you may be able to complain with the ICAC. A broker is supposed to be your agent, not the agent of an insurance company or fund company. The broker must disclose any conflicts of interest, especially about commissions. If your broker did not get your permission to receive a commission (a kickback from the product issuer), and if he/she did not disclose material information about how much commission he/she received and when he/she received it, then he/she violated Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, which is an offense punishable by $500,000 in fines and 7 years imprisonment. 

Hong Kong Police
Website: http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/02_er_room/
Email: crimeinformation@police.gov.hk (only accept attachments up to 10 MB)
Phone: 2860 5012 (Commercial Crime Hotline)
Address: Find your nearest police station.
Hours: Open 24 hours.
Relevant Laws: Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance and/or Section 36 of the Crimes Ordinance
Note: If you were sold a scam insurance policy (a fraud), or if your broker deceived you for financial gain (defrauded you), then file a fraud complaint against the insurance company who created the scam and the insurance agent or broker who sold it to you. Fraud is a serious offense punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment.

Consumer Council
Website: http://www.consumer.org.hk/website/ws_en/complaints_and_advices/how_to_complain/howtocomplain.html
Email: cc@consumer.org.hk
Phone: 2929 2222
Address: Find your nearest Consumer Advice Center.
Hours: Mon to Fri, 9:00 – 1:00, 2:00 – 6:00
Note: Any ripped off consumer can file a complaint with the Consumer Council. The Consumer Council will act as a mediator and a monitor, similar to OCI.

Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA)
Website: http://www.mpfa.org.hk/eng/supervision/mpf_intermediaries/complaints_against/index.jsp
Email: mpfa@mpfa.org.hk
Phone: 2918 0102
Address: Units 1501A and 1508, Level 15, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Note: Many insurance agents and insurance brokers hold an MPFA license, and presumably, they should have to abide by MPFA’s Code of Conduct, which is more strict than the self-regulatory codes of conduct. File a complaint to MPFA if your agent/broker held an MPFA license and breached the MPFA code of conduct.

Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI)
WARNING: Self-Regulatory Organization / Has Conflicts of Interest
Website: http://www.hkfi.org.hk/#!/consumer-zone/avenue-for-complaints
Email: hkfi@hkfi.org.hk
Phone: 2520 2728
Address: 29/F Sunshine Plaza, 353 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Note: If you want to file a complaint about an insurance company (for creating a scam product and selling it to you), send the complaint to HKFI. Copy your complaint to OCI, so OCI can monitor the complaint. If you are complaining about a company’s agent, the complaint will go to the IARB.

Insurance Agents Registration Board (IARB)
WARNING: Self-Regulatory Organization / Has Conflicts of Interest
Website: Go to HKFI’s website.
Email: hkfi@hkfi.org.hk
Phone: 2520 1868
Address: 29th Floor, Sunshine Plaza, 353 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Note: The IARB was set up by HKFI. If you were sold a ripoff insurance policy by an insurance agent (not a broker), complain to IARB. Copy your complaint to OCI, so OCI can monitor the complaint. An insurance agent is the agent of a particular insurance company, whereas an insurance broker is your agent and is not tied to a particular insurance company.

Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA)
WARNING: Self-Regulatory Organization / Has Conflicts of Interest
Website: http://www.piba.org.hk/index.php/en/about-piba/establishment-of-piba
Email: info@piba.org.hk
Phone: 2869 8515
Address: Room 2507-08, 25/F, China Insurance Group Building, 141 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong
Office Hours: Mon to Fri, 9:00 – 12:30 / 1:30 – 6:00
Note: Insurance brokers are self-regulated by two different organizations, PIBA and CIB. If you were ripped off by an insurance broker, check to see whether your broker is licensed with PIBA or CIB. You can search the register of members on PIBA’s website to find out if the broker is licensed with PIBA. Note that there is a register for companies and a register for individuals. Complain to the organization with which your broker is licensed with. Copy your complaint to OCI, so OCI can monitor the complaint.

Confederation of Insurance Brokers (CIB)
WARNING: Self-Regulatory Organization / Has Conflicts of Interest
Website: http://www.hkcib.org/hkcib/en/about/ourMission.html
Email: info@hkcib.org
Phone: 2882 9943
Address: Room 3407, AIA Tower, 183 Electric Road, Fortress Hill, Hong Kong
Note: Insurance brokers are self-regulated by two different organizations, PIBA and CIB. If you were ripped off by an insurance broker, check to see whether your broker is licensed with PIBA or CIB. You can search the register of members on CIB’s website to find out if your broker is licensed with CIB. Complain to the organization with which your broker is licensed with. Copy your complaint to OCI, so OCI can monitor the complaint.

Office of the Ombudsman
Website: http://www.ombudsman.hk/en-us/how_to_lodge_a_complaint.html
Email: complaints@ombudsman.hk
Phone: 2629 0555
Address: 30/F, China Merchants Tower, Shun Tak Centre, 168-200 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Hours: Mon to Fri, 8:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m
Note: If SFC, HKMA, or OCI is not handling/monitoring your complaint in a responsible manner, then file a complaint against them with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Legislative Council (LegCo)
Website: http://www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/members/yr12-16/biographies.htm
Email: Click HERE to download the emails of all LegCo members.
Phone: Click HERE to download the phone numbers of all LegCo members.
Note: You can try contacting one of the 70 members of the LegCo for help. LegCo members have power and influence. I suggest you avoid members of the LegCo who are not democratically elected, such as Chan Kin-por, who was elected by 52 insurance companies in 2008. Choose a member who was elected by a geographical constituency, NOT a functional constituency.

Bills Committee on Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 2014
Website: http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr13-14/english/bc/bc06/general/bc06.htm
Email: bc_06_13@legco.gov.hk
List of Members: http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr13-14/english/bc/bc06/general/bc06_mem.htm
Note: These members of the LegCo are responsible for overseeing the drafting of the bill which will set up a new insurance regulator (the Independent Insurance Authority). The bill will legally require insurance intermediaries to act in the best interests of clients. Contact these guys to pressure them to make sure that the bill is not corrupted by lobbyists from the insurance industry. Pressure them to amend the bill so that the new independent regulator will be able to take consumer complaints as soon as possible. It is outrageous that victims must file complaints with organizations that represent the very companies that committed the wrongdoings.

Financial Services and Treasury Bureau (FSTB)
Website: http://www.fstb.gov.hk/fsb/iia/eng/establishment/index.htm
Email: iia_consultation@fstb.gov.hk
Phone: 3655 5088
Address: Special Duties Division, 24/F, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong
Note: Complain to the FSTB if you are unhappy with the way insurance is regulated in Hong Kong. They are responsible for setting up the new insurance regulator (the Independent Insurance Authority).

Financial Secretary
Website: http://www.fso.gov.hk/eng/role.htm
Email: fso@fso.gov.hk
Phone: Not Listed. Fax number is 2840 0569.
Address: 25/F, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong
Note: If you’re unhappy about the way insurance is regulated in Hong Kong, complain to the Financial Secretary (John Tsang). “The Financial Secretary’s primary responsibility is to assist the Chief Executive in overseeing policy formulation and implementation in financial, monetary, economic, trade and employment matters.”

International Regulatory Developments

US President Obama Announces Reforms for Financial Advisers (Feb. 23, 2015)
http://www.c-span.org/video/?324512-3/president-obama-remarks-aarp

US Council of Economic Advisers: Report on the Effects of Conflicted Investment Advice (Feb. 23, 2015)
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/cea_coi_report_final.pdf

Post-Implementation Review of the UK’s RDR Reforms: Overview (Dec. 16, 2014)
http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/post-implementation-review-of-the-retail-distribution-review-phase-1

Post-Implementation Review of the UK’s RDR Reforms: Full Report (Dec. 16, 2014)
http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/research/rdr-post-implementation-review-europe-economics

Books, Blogs, Videos, and Whistleblowers

The Great Expat Financial Planning Rip-Off (A must-read book about ILAS Savings Scams. Click HERE to see a book review. It was written by an anonymous financial adviser who goes by the name, “Hugh Stevenson”.)

Andrew Hallam’s Website (This article and its comments are must-reads. Check out Andrew’s bestselling books, Millionaire Teacher and The Expatriate’s Guide to Investing.)

Wilfred Ling’s New Website and Old Website (Click HERE to read about him and HERE to see a collection of his best quotes.)

Tan Kin Lian’s Blog and Facebook Page (I recommend reading THIS BLOG POST which gives a good introduction to him. Also see my second, third, and fourth, blog posts about him.)

ILAS Victims Alliance – Facebook Page (This is a group of Hong Kong ILAS victims. The page is a source for news articles in Chinese. The group was founded by Chris Lai in 2011.)

Best video clips from the Suze Orman Show. See THIS collection and THIS collection.

Best video clips from the Dave Ramsey Show. See HERE.

Jim Dahle’s website, The White Coat Investor. (See THIS blog post for an introduction.)

Brian Fechtel’s website.  (See THIS blog post for an introduction.)

Four old documentaries about insurance scandals in the USA and Canada. Click HERE.

Passive Investing: The Evidence the Fund Management Industry Would Prefer You Not to See (A must-see documentary)

The LM Emails (Several years of leaked emails, provided by whistleblower Martyn Terpilowski – An incredible inside look at the financial advice industry in Asia)

A Betrayal of Trust (A documentary about fund scams in Australia)

Who Took My Pension? (Part I & Part II) – A BBC Documentary

PowerPoint Presentation Created for an ILAS Victims Meeting with Hong Kong’s Insurance Commissioner

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