HSBC is being sued by the wealthy divorcee of Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim for alleged negligence that resulted in her sustaining heavy losses from investments.
According to the court complaint, Teo Geok Fong, who won $50m from Lim, said she was misled into believing certain products were suitable for her risk profile, but after trusting her banker's advice, suffered losses.
"HSBC was always eager, motivated by their own commercial interests and/or financial benefits [to persuade her to buy products including accumulators, decumulators and equity-linked notes]," said Teo's complaint filed in the Singapore High Court.
Teo, who is a homemaker with a high-school education, divorced billionaire Lim in 2002. He was a stockbroker who became exceedingly wealthy through holdings in palm oil producers and a chain of Manchester United cafes in Asia.
He famously offered to buy Valencia soccer club in 2013 and Premier League team Liverpool in 2010.
According to a HSBC's defence filing, it has denied wrongdoing and asked the court to dismiss Teo's lawsuit as she had presented herself as a sophisticated and experienced investor.
HSBC pointed out that she had at least five other private bank accounts, a growing portfolio, and was willing to take more investment risk.
HSBC said she alone was responsible for her investments.
The case is Teo Geok Fong v The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp., Singapore Branch. S1105/2013. Singapore High Court.