27th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) HOY TV, a Hong Kong TV current affairs program has uncovered disturbing allegations of fraud and misconduct by employees of a major bank that led one client to lose half of her HK$20 million life savings.
Leslie, a mid-50s woman who returned to Hong Kong from Canada five years ago, told the program that she entrusted her entire net worth from the sale of a Canadian property to the bank for investment on the advice of her brother. She was introduced to Cindy, an assistant vice president at the private banking department, who promised fees would be lower than competitors.
Initially, returns of around 8% per month came as promised. But the pandemic turned things sour — Leslie claims Cindy stopped sharing monthly investment statements and ignored her instructions to sell holdings as markets plunged. Only then did she discover half her funds had vanished amid the property sector downturn?
Confronted, Cindy admitted fault but the case was passed to supervisor Karen, who pushed Leslie not to lodge a complaint that could damage Cindy’s “career prospects.” Karen proposed compensation far below losses, absolving the bank of blame.
In later calls, a frustrated Leslie faced threats from operations head Helen that the bank would “do everything possible to destroy you” unless she dropped it. However, the bank has since denied the allegations and declined further comment.
Regulators say each complaint is treated seriously. But such vitriol and abuse of power is a concerning indictment of corporate culture. Worse, police investigations now peg total alleged losses from the platform at a record $1.37 billion.