■ ING Antai names manager
ING Antai (ING安泰人壽) yesterday announced that chief executive officer Chan Pi-yao's (陳丕耀) term will expire at the end of this month, and his post will be taken over by John Wylie, regional general manager of ING Asia Pacific, the company said in a press release. Taiwan has become ING Group's second-largest life insurance market in Asia. To strengthen its foothold here with an eye on the potential retirement pension market, the group decided to have Wylie, an expert in pension programs, lead the company to further boost its sales and market share. ING Antai, the nation's fourth-largest life insurer announced last month that its Taiwanese operations will be upgraded from a branch to a subsidiary company of the Hague-based ING Group, starting March 1.
■ New FSC official announced
The Financial Supervisory Commission's secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) will take over as acting director-general of the commission's Examination Bureau, the commission's spokesman Lin Chung-cheng (林忠正) said yesterday. Lee Chin-chen (李進誠), the former director-general of the bureau, was charged last October and may face an eight-year jail sentence for his alleged leaking of confidential information about a government probe into Power Quotient International Co (勁永國際) to an investor who profited from the information.
■ Foreign investment still rising
Foreign investors continued their interest in Taiwan's shares in February, with net foreign remittances to the stock market amounting to US$1.09 billion from the start of the month until Feb. 10, according to figures released yesterday by the Financial Supervisory Commission's Securities and Futures Bureau. Taiwan has seen net inward remittances by foreign investors increase for three consecutive months since November last year, with the amount hitting a single-month record high of US$8.52 billion in December.
Since the stock market reopened after the Lunar New Year holiday (Feb. 3 until Feb. 10), foreign investors bought listed shares worth NT$569.4 billion (US$17.5 billion) and sold listed shares worth NT$493.4 billion in Taiwan, posting a net buying worth of NT$76 billion, the tallies show.
■ Direct selling booming
Taiwan's direct selling industry is expected to post a growth rate of 30 percent this year, despite competition from other retail businesses, a leading direct selling company said yesterday. According to Amway Taiwan, the market scale of Taiwan's multi-level network marketing amounted to some NT$68.3 billion (US$2.1 billion) in 2004, up 30 percent over the previous year. They noted that health food and skin-care products are the two main product lines fielded by Taiwan's direct selling industry, with the two categories together accounting for more than 60 percent of total sales. They said Amway Taiwan posted sales of NT$6.57 billion in 2005, 28 percent higher than 2004, and that the company was aiming to boost that amount to top NT$7 billion in 2006.
■ NT dollar falls
The New Taiwan dollar declined against its US counterpart yesterday on speculation that foreign investors will add to sales of Taiwan stocks, flocking to the US after the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said interest rates might increase, traders said. The NT dollar fell NT$0.049 to close at NT$32.401 on the Taipei foreign exchange market, on turnover of US$712 million.
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HELP? The finance minister faced questions by lawmakers on whether the National Stabilization Fund would step in to help prop up the market, which fell 4.11% yesterday The TAIEX yesterday sank by 680.76 points, or 4.11 percent, to close at 15,902.37 points, the second- largest one-day drop after a fall of 696 points on Jan. 30 last year, amid concern over the rising number of local COVID-19 infections, analysts said. The weighted index, which closed at 16,583.13 points on Tuesday, opened down and lost 300 points in the first 15 minutes of trading, before climbing to 16,550 points at 9:46am, Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) data showed. However, it lost its footing again, plunging 1,400 points to 15,165.27 points at 11:25am. That represented a drop of 9 percent — the largest