ING Groep NV (INGA) agreed to pay $8.8 million to the Taiwan government’s labor and pension funds to compensate for investment losses allegedly related to irregular trading activities.
ING will pay the full amount sought by Taiwan partly for the sake of continuing to develop its business on the island, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement yesterday. Rosemary Wang, a Financial Supervision Commission official, said today the regulator sent a warning to ING and asked it to fire the employee after an investigation.
“The company values its customers and business in Taiwan and is taking this action as a gesture of goodwill, to protect the interests of the company,” said Victorina De Boer, an Amsterdam-based spokeswoman for ING. “There was no legal obligation to compensate clients.”
The payment is the latest in a series of penalties levied against financial institutions in Asia. The Japanese Securities Dealers Association last month fined Nomura Holdings Inc. (8604) 300 million yen ($3.7 million) for leaking client information. ING, under European Union orders to sell its insurance and asset management businesses before the end of 2013, says it employs almost 200 people on the island, the most of any foreign asset management firm.
ING had previously rejected the compensation demands, saying the losses related to the employee’s activities were limited. Taiwan’s labor and pension funds have 1.97 trillion Taiwan dollars ($67 billion) of assets.
The employee’s contract has been terminated, De Boer said.
Taiwan’s securities market regulator has concluded its investigation of ING, the FSC’s Wang said. She declined to comment on whether prosecutors are pursuing the matter.
ING rose 0.9 percent to 6.95 euros at 11 a.m. in Amsterdam.
The Council of Labor Affairs said on Oct. 31 that ING would be banned from investing on behalf of the government for five years.
“I hope this doesn’t set a precedent,” Henry Lin, chairman of the Securities Investment Trust and Consulting Association of the Republic of China, wrote in an opinion piece published in newspaper the Economic Daily News today. “Just because a fund loses money doesn’t mean investors can seek compensation. You have to show legal violations.”
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