A 47-year-old Indian-origin Singaporean has received a hefty compensation of over 4 million Singaporean dollars from his previous employer after a scathing letter of reference by them cost him the chance to join another company. Ramesh Krishnan, described as “one of AXA’s best-compensated advisers”, had accused the company of defaming him in 2012 when providing references on his work performance, The Straits Times reported. Krishnan lost the defamation suit in the High Court in 2015, but the Court of Appeal later ruled that AXA had breached its duty of care to him, the report said.
When the company Krishnan had applied to asked AXA for the reference, it wrote back to say that he “showed a very poor 13th month persistency rate” – meaning that many of his clients did not stick with their policies – and “we are very concerned as to whether the clients have been provided with proper advice”.
The Court of Appeal said this would have given the mistaken impression that Krishnan was not competent, and did not square with the evidence that he was one of AXA’s best financial services directors and it had earlier persuaded him not to resign.
Justice George Wei noted on Monday that the stands of both parties had been “polar opposites” when it came to damages. Krishnan had sought 63 million Singaporean dollar, while AXA urged he should be awarded only a nominal sum of 1 Singaporean dollar.
Starting from April 2011, this included a commencement allowance of 675,000 Singaporean dollars, and an initial monthly salary of 65,625 Singaporean dollars for the first 12 months and 43,750 Singaporean dollars for the following months till July last year.
He also looked at loss of future earnings between August last year and July next year at a discounted rate.
An AXA Singapore spokesman said on Monday it is seeking legal advice on the judgment.
“Providing for and protecting our policyholders is our top priority and we remain committed to ensuring that our appointed representatives are fit and proper and meet the competency, financial soundness and integrity standards required by us and the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore),” the spokesman was quoted as saying.
Ramesh said: “People must know that justice is served. Somebody must go out there and make a point”.