Friday, May 16, 2008

On the people's desire to know more.

Mr Hardy feels that Singapore's Sovereign Wealth Funds have done a good job. So far no news of any financial scandal other than the Shin Corps debacle. Just like any investment sometimes we make losses. That's a fact of life, all returns come with risk. (and don't get me started on the appropriate amount of risk. There's a calculation for it.)

But what Mr Hardy feels is lamentable about Singapore is that some people like to make these losses an issue because they just want to make life difficult for PIP. Make life difficult nevermind, they also don't know their economics or finance, just anyhow whack only.

For this people, Mr Hardy can only say, "their mouth their wish lor."

Whenever, Mr Hardy hears commentary on how they think Singapore Government should allocate their funds, or whether they should give back some of the returns etc, Mr Hardy believes the real agenda - or the angle the lay citizen is coming from is that they want more transparency.

Essentially, they are concerned and want to know if there's been mismanagement or if the choices made were the wrong ones.

Concerned citizens by right are entitled to know.

Mr Hardy's only complaint about GIC and Temasek Holdings is that they need to be more transparent. I don't think there's a problem with GIC and Temasek Holdings releasing more information - maybe can release an annual statement or better still, open themselves up and sell equity shares to individual singaporeans so we all can 'huat' together.

The real issue is can we trust the average Singaporean with that kind of information. Are we all sufficiently motivated to research, and think and be responsible for our actions?

Don't get me wrong, Singapore's not the only one with this kind of problems. Even in developed countries they all bitch and gripe about the government in power. And they are a very opinionated lot as well.

Maybe what we need is to to just keep talking and for the teachers amongst us to guide and those consensus builders out there to help integrate thoughts and ideas together.

More information on these government affliated wealth management funds can be found at


kwayteowman said...

Temasek actually publishes an annual report that tells you what assets they hold I think. GIC is supposedly the more mysterious one - but it's not a big surprise 'cos they don't make more money by telling people what investment strategies they have up their sleeves.

As for telling people more, how many people actually understand -- and how many people who don't understand will talk like they are Warren Buffet?

Finally, even if GIC tells you what they they are doing, it's not likely that you can "huat" with them lah. Unless you are Warren Buffet, you are unlikely to be able to execute the same sorts of trades on the scale they need to hedge your risks.

A more pertinent question is this: why doesn't GIC start a fund that will allow Singaporeans to invest if they are doing really well?

Reason is actually very simple: it is not true that the more funds you have, the easier it is to make money. Some strategies are not very scalable -- and GIC really doesn't need the cash infusion.

What's probably the crux of the problem is the following though: it makes no economic and political sense.

Allowing folks to invest will be regressive because what the Govt will effectively be doing is help the rich get richer - since only the rich will have the spare cash to invest mah.

But more seriously, there is no reason for the Govt to take the political risk. If the GIC fund tanks (and it might if we're greedy enough - if not greedy then put in fixed-D lah), it's going to be a political problem.

Hope this helps. :-)

Anonymous said...

I replied to your post at Tomorrow on why Singapore bloggers are whiny shits.

Anonymous said...

You said "As I scan through and read the posts, I'll start to plug-in to the real world angst and misery that my fellow citizens put up with on a daily basis."

Please note that what you plug into at Tomorrow is NOT the "real world" of Singapore.

The blogging whiners/losers constitute a terribly tiny minority of the general Singapore population, who are down-and-out losers forced to seek therapy by whining about their sad lives online.

The platform also allows the losers to find fellow losers to commiserate, so the losers can find solidarity for their loserly lives.

The majority of Singaporeans are not loserly.