Wed, May 11, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Singapore’s GIC to explore audacious investment choices

AFP, SINGAPORE

The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) will explore bolder ways of investing the country’s foreign reserves, its chairman Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) said in remarks published yesterday.

The 87-year-old former prime minister said the GIC, known in the market for conservative investments, cannot keep following conventional practices as it grows.

‘MEDIOCRITY’

“This could lead to mediocrity. GIC must develop the capacity and courage to make the right decisions, thinking in depth and foresight for what works best for us, even if the decisions are at times unconventional,” he said.

Lee did not go into detail in a speech late on Monday at the GIC’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

The GIC is a company founded in 1981 to invest Singapore’s foreign reserves, which stood at close to S$300 billion (US$243 billion) last month, according to central bank estimates.

In its latest available annual report, the GIC said 41 percent of its portfolio as of March last year was in public equities in developed markets.

Geographically, 36 percent of its assets were in the US, 30 percent in Europe and 24 percent in Asia.

RECOVERED LOSSES

In September last year, the GIC said it had recovered most of its losses caused by the 2008 financial crisis and planned to keep its stakes in banking giants Citigroup and UBS.

Singapore’s other state investment arm is Temasek Holdings, whose portfolio of S$186 billion is weighted toward Asia and Singapore.

The US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute in March ranked GIC as the eighth-largest in the world.

The Singapore dollar was trading higher against the greenback at 1.2314 to the US dollar from 1.2321 in late Asian trade on Monday.

However, analysts said this was because of a rebound in the euro and commodities markets from last week, as well as Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party returning to power in the May 7 elections, rather than Lee’s comments.

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