Saturday, October 6, 2012

‘Gold’ raid long overdue

Wednesday October 3, 2012

‘Gold’ raid long overdue

I REFER to the front page report on the raid on Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd “Raid on gold trader” (The Star, Oct 2).
The authorities should have acted long ago.
Now, millions of ringgit of innocent depositors and investors are at stake. My deepest sympathies go out to them.
I was approached by a consultant of the company, shown some gold investment schemes, and told not to worry about storing gold as it would be in the form of a deposit account that paid guaranteed attractive interest rates.
Being in a financial institution, I knew that only a licensed bank could do so.
So I rejected the scheme even though it appeared attractive.
Undeterred, the consultant insisted that the scheme was perfectly legal and even showed me the company’s profile, letter of incorporation, form 49, etc.
I was later invited to their office for a preview which I rejected.
Living near their office, I often passed by and saw huge crowds outside on most weekday nights.
For added security, there would be police standing guard at the office. What is puzzling is that this scheme had been going on for at least four years.
Many investors are not aware that a company can be legally registered or incorporated (eg. Sdn Bhd) with a minimum RM2 paid up capital, but the business may not be legal.
There are many more such schemes in the form of gold investments, forex, land banking, plantations, etc. which are illegal.
From the layperson’s perspective, deposits are regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and investments by the Securities Commission (SC).
But we would later be told that such schemes, better known as interest-based schemes, come under the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM).
There is much confusion here.
These products are usually marketed like unit trusts.
The Securities Commission should be the main regulatory body for this kind of investments. A phone call to the SC would verify whether this company is properly registered and its business legal.
When will all this stop?
These investment schemes have definitely tarnished the nation’s image with local and foreign investors.
We need to streamline and consolidate the regulatory bodies for all investment schemes.
Set up a dedicated hotline and website which the public can use to verify the legality and authenticity of the scheme.
Education programmes should also be conducted to forewarn the public about such schemes.
Kuala Lumpur

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