Sat, May 25, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Singfore Life fined for land hoarding

UNDERUTILIZATION:The FSC rapped the life insurer for failing to comply with rules mandating prompt development of idle land and for its weak capital

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) on Thursday stepped up its action against Singfore Life Insurance Co (幸福人壽) for land hoarding, meting out a fine of NT$8.4 million (US$279,720) and banning it from making new stock and property investments.

The commission also ordered the insurer to remove executives in charge of property and financial investments, and to dispose of plots of land bought in 2010 unless it can obtain building permits and start construction by the end of this year.

Singfore Life, whose capital adequacy ratio is below the required 200 percent minimum, together with Global Life Insurance Co (國寶人壽) and Chaoyang Life Insurance Co (朝陽人壽), has been lax in internal oversight and corporate governance as evidenced by its weak capital and failure to abide by property investment restrictions, the commission said in a statement.

Singfore Life has ignored instructions that it start construction on the idle land it owns in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義), New Taipei City and Greater Taichung, in violation of the “prompt utilization” principle governing land purchases by insurers, the commission said.

The principle was set to prevent land hoarding, which has been blamed for soaring property prices in the nation.

Singfore Life cannot make new overseas investment beyond the 25 percent ceiling and should limit investments to government and corporate bonds with “A” credit ratings, the commission said.

Singfore Life must obtain board approval before executing investment and divestment plans valued at NT$10 million or more, the commission said, adding that it must notify the board of measures to correct lax governance.

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