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Share gains capped by political uncertainty: FSC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In a briefing to the Legislative Yuan's Finance Committee yesterday, Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Tseng Min-chong (曾銘宗) warned against a number of unscrupulous practices rumored to be taking place across the sector, while stating that without the uncertainties wrought by the student protests the TAIEX would have breached the 9,000-point mark.

Tseng Criticizes Student Protests

In response to a lawmaker's comment suggesting that TAIEX's spirited rally along with a NT$300 billion surge in market value over the past week was a boon brought on by the student protests, Tseng replied that the market would have already breached the 9,000-point mark without the onset of political uncertainty and social discord. Tseng emphatically stated that if he thanked the students for recent market developments, he would be unfit to retain his post as the chairman of the FSC. Tseng attributed gains in the market to the fact that listed companies had released their annual reports in March, reporting stellar profits reaching around NT$1.8 trillion, a 47-percent year-on-year gain over last year's results. Without the uncertainties wrought by the student protests, the market's reaction would have been more exuberant, and the TAIEX would have already breached the 9,000 mark already, said Tseng.

FSC to Beef up Personal Information Protection

Tseng remarked that following the finalization of amendments to article 43 of the Financial Holding Company Act (金控公司法), clientele data gathered by financial institutions will be safeguarded under the terms of the Personal Information Protection Act (個資保護法). Following the change, the sharing of clientele information among various arms of a financial holding company such as banking, securities brokerage, and life insurance will be decided on an opt-in basis, as opposed to the previous opt-out basis. Previously, if a client did not explicitly provide an opt-out declaration, the account's information could be shared among divisions of a financial holding company. However, following the change, sharing of clientele information may only take place with the consent or opt-in declaration from clients, and prohibited if the client chooses to opt-out.

Protected personal information include the client's phone number, and national identification number, with financial institutions still able to share the client's name and resident address in the absence of an explicit opt-out declaration.

Tseng also stated that comprehensive investigations will be launched to verify whether current clientele account contracts conform to the upcoming change.

Tseng also allayed concerns that clients' personal information may be compromised at Taiwanese banks operating across the strait, as they may be compelled to join China-based joint credit information centers. Tseng emphasized that the concerns over possible leakage of person information are unfounded, as the majority of Taiwanese financial companies cater primarily to institutional investors, with personal accounts remaining in the single-digit territory since the last tally, therefore, they will not be required to join joint credit information centers.

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A watchful investor keeps an eye on a wall of stock ticker monitors. The market closed up 32.30 points at the end of yesterday's session, with the TAIEX closing at 8,905.45 points following a week of consecutive gains. (CNA)

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