A wealthy DBS client who claims she was misled into buying high-risk derivatives said she was very cautious when signing business contracts, but never thought she would have to be on guard with her bank.
Hao Ting, a Beijing businesswoman who deals in energy and petrol, was testifying at the Court of First Instance yesterday.
DBS Bank (Hong Kong) is suing Hao and her company, San-Hot HK Industrial, for more than HK$90 million in losses she incurred from accumulators, an investment product, during the market crunch in 2007.
'I know the importance of business contracts,' Hao said as Jat Sew-tong SC, for the bank, questioned her about a document she had signed to open an account with DBS.
'When we sign our [business] contracts, every page is initialled. I would guard against anyone sitting opposite me,' she said. 'The only thing I had not thought about was to guard against anyone from a bank, because I did not believe that what bank staff told me would be in total contradiction to a contract.'
This is the first known court battle in Hong Kong over accumulators, where investors buy a security, currency or commodity at regular intervals and at a fixed price, below the prevailing market value, for the term of the contract.
Hao said DBS customer relations manager Santos Wong Wai-yip had persuaded her to buy two risky funds. The pair knew each other since April 2006, while he was working at Citigold. At Citi, she told Wong she was 'second to conservative', but Hao later discovered she had been labelled an 'aggressive' investor.
The hearing continues today before Mr Justice Jason Pow Wing-nin.