I refer to Bloomberg article “$1 Trillion Fund Committed to U.K. No Matter What Brexit Outcome“.
It was reported that Government Pension Fund Global, Norway’s SWF, made a record investment return last year. Its funds are managed by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM)
On a scale of 1 to 10 for transparency, NBIM scores a perfect 10.
But unlike NBIM, Singapore’s SWF GIC does not believe one bit in transparency. Instead, Singaporeans – especially CPF members – are expected to believe blindly in GIC’s published figures.
The stark contrast in transparency between NBIM and GIC should worry many Singaporeans:
1. Absolute and percentage yearly return
NBIM: Made record US$131 billion/13.7% return in 2017, figures disclosed for all years.
GIC: Absolute and percentage returns not disclosed for every year.
2. Portfolio breakdown
NBIM: 66.6% stocks, 30.8% bonds and 2.6% real estate.
GIC: Similar breakdown but conceals cash position with bonds under “Nominal Bonds and Cash”.
3. Detailed facts
4. Value of individual investments
NBIM: Individual values of more than 9000 investments published in report. (link)
GIC: None. (PAP says currency speculators may launch attack on the Singapore dollar.)
5 Size of fund
NBIM: Current market value of 8132 billion kroner/US$1033 billion. (8488 billion kroner at 31 Dec 2017)
GIC: No market value, value also not disclosed in annual report. SWFI guesstimate at US$359 billion strongly suggests something amiss.
6 Top management
NBIM: Executives employed based on relevant work experience.
GIC: Employment based on academic performance and executives are mostly scholars, former civil servants/military personnel. Two executives with military background are Tay Lim Hock and former President’s Scholar Goh Kok Huat. Lim Kee Chong is another scholar.
7 Management costs
NBIM: Full disclosure (page 72).
GIC: Pai-seh cannot tell.
8 Income statement
NBIM: Annual report (page 80).
GIC: State secret.
9 Ten largest bonds and equities
NBIM: Published (page 110)GIC: Undisclosed
10 Breakdown of management fees
NBIM: Published in annual report, page 125.
GIC: Another state secret.
11 Remuneration of senior management
NBIM: Full disclosure.
GIC: Taxpayers don’t deserve to know.
Isn’t it strange that a fund more than 2 times larger than GIC could be totally transparent but GIC needs to operate in secrecy?
PAP should not take Singaporeans for fools: transparency will not doom Singapore.
On the other hand, transparency will greatly benefit Singaporeans – especially CPF members. Transparency will allow overpaid but underperforming GIC senior management executives appointed by PAP to be held accountable.
PAP should bear in mind that S$360 billion of GIC’s funds belong to CPF members, not Ah Kong’s money.
It is wrong to shield GIC’s management of hundreds of billions in CPF and state reserves from public scrutiny.
If PAP is not concealing massive investment losses, why fear transparency?