Sunday, May 01, 2011

Investment losses of GIC and Temasek

Dear Mr Tan
I am a resident of Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and follows political news of my GRC very closely before I made my choice on 7 May. I was shocked on Mr Vivian Balakrishna's response to Channel NewsAsia last night when he said the portfolio of GIC and Temasek are back to pre-crisis peak and hear him saying the following:-

"In other words, there is no loss on national reserves. They are going around claiming losses on national reserves and town council reserves are pure fabrication." by Vivian Balakrishna.

As I am a homemaker and not well versed with statistics, I decided to just do a check on the internet and with a simple touch of finger, the following report appears:-

“Temasek Holdings sold its stake in British banking giant Barclays in December and January, at an estimated loss of between 500 million (S$1.2 billion) and 600 million pounds, sources told the Straits Times”. (Straits Times, 4 June 2009)

Lower gains made by Temasek due to the losses incurred does not equate to NO LOSS. No wonder he blows the YOG buget. Thanks to Vivian who has been helping me on my decision.



Singapore's 5 Minute Investment Diary said...

Dear Heather
If ever there is a survey for justifying a million dollar salary.

You have my vote.

If we need a good mind to safeguard our country's reserves.

You have my vote.

Some people can only talk "cheaper, better, faster".

You have actually shown us by action how to be "cheaper, better, faster".

No need 56 man-years to check up on some hard truths.

DareToAct said...

There is no way of knowing because the government has not been forthcoming with GIC and Temasek's accounts. We can roughly guess that GIC's investments in UBS and Citibank each has a paper loss of USD 5 billion, we do not know how GIC's other investments did over past years. In addition, there are continuous inflows into GIC and Temasek and so we really will have no way of knowing by just looking at period-end numbers.

Jerone said...


On the topic of losses due to Temasek, trust me on this, Temasek has recovered all its losses during the GFC.

In investments, you cannot win all the time. Barclays was bad, Merrill was worse, but there were some very good investments that helped to recoup the losses. Eg. rights issues in NOL etc.

As for GIC, not sure. I suspect it is still down cause it is invested in a lot of property and EU bonds.

yujuan said...

Anybody noticed when GIC losses were brought up for debate in Parliament,
our respected MM Lee, the Chairman of this Sovereign Fund, was absent in Parliament as he went quickly overseas on some official business in London.
He too follow SM Goh and did a disappearing act with a magic wand.
Even the MM has no guts to face his
"Honest Mistake".
Okay, time to move on.

Spur said...

In other words, our reserves are just back to 2007 levels, in spite of additional tens of billion dollars added from land sales and other govt revenue in 2009 and 2010. PAP had to dump in additional billions into GIC & TH just to cover up the big holes. Basically we lost 3 years from 2008-2010.

GIC and TH has the sickening habit of selling at the low, but then not having the guts to buy in at the low.

For a layman investor, if he merely held on to his stocks and continue to dollar-cost average over the last 3 years, he will have done quite OK and have a portfolio that is bigger than in 2007.

If you just follow a simple trend-following system, you will be out of equities in Feb 2008 and then buy back into equities in Apr 2009. Even without adding a single cent, your portfolio today will be at least 50% bigger than in 2007.

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