Singfor hit with more fines

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - Page 14

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday meted out a fine of NT$3.6 million (US$120,500) to Singfor Life Insurance Co (幸福人壽) for land hoarding and banned the insurer from making new property investments.

It was the fifth time the commission has taken punitive action against Singfor in six years.

At issue are two plots of land Singfor acquired in Hsinchu and Greater Taichung in 2011 but failed to secure construction permits for within nine months, violating the “prompt utilization” principle governing land purchases by insurers.

Singfor also made unreasonably high offers for the land, reducing the likelihood it will turn a profit from the deal, the commission said.

The FSC said the case exposed lax internal oversight and reminded the company and the life insurance sector of the importance of corporate governance.

On May 22, the commission slapped a fine of NT$8.4 million on Singfor and banned it from making new stock and property investments until it makes corrections.

The commission also ordered the insurer to remove executives in charge of property and financial investments, and to dispose of the plots of land it bought in 2011 unless it can obtain permits and start construction by the end of this year.

The insurer plans to auction land near the high-speed rail station in Greater Taichung next month, with a floor price of NT$1.6 billion for a plot measuring 15,290 ping (50,545m2), which equates to NT$105,000 per ping, auction organizer Savills Taiwan said yesterday.