Singapore: bank’s duty of care in advising a customer on the management of his wealth

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The Singapore Court of Appeal has held that a bank will not come under a tortious duty to exercise care in advising a customer on the management of his wealth where it did not undertake, contractually or otherwise, to provide any such advisory services or did not assume any responsibility to provide strategic advice on the customer’s investment portfolio as a whole or on the management of his wealth.

In this case, the Singapore Court of Appeal was not concerned with any allegation that a bank had engaged in the mis-selling of a financial product. Rather, the issue raised was, where a customer knows or understands the risks inherent in investing in a financial product, does a bank owe a duty to care to the customer to give sound or appropriate strategic investment advice as to the management and structuring of his portfolio as a whole, if it has not undertaken a contractual duty to do so? At first instance, the Singapore High Court held that the bank did owe such a duty of care to the customer based on certain ‘unusual facts’ of the case. However, the Singapore Court of Appeal reversed the High Court’s decision, finding that the facts relied upon by the High Court as giving rise to the bank’s duty of care to the customer were not ‘unusual’ in the circumstances of the case…

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