SINGAPORE (Apr 10): If success has many fathers, failure in financial markets is no orphan either: It almost always ends up in the lap of retail investors.

In Hyflux, there are 34,000 of these moms and pops, set to lose most – if not all – of the $900 million they plonked down in the troubled Singaporean water and power firm’s preference and perpetual shares.

Those securities are in dire straits after Hyflux last week scrapped an accord with SM Investments. The closely held venture of Indonesian tycoons Anthony Salim and Arifin Panigoro had agreed last year to infuse $530 million to rescue the cash-strapped Singapore firm in exchange for a majority stake. The white knight was at least offering to pay the junior debt holders 10 percent; with SM departing and liquidation looming, the perpetual securities are trading below 5 cents on the dollar.

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