Temasek: A fund apart?
In a world of increasingly powerful and mistrusted sovereign wealth funds, Temasek, the investment arm of the Singapore state, stands apart in terms of governance, openness and performance, claims Simon Israel, its executive director. Chris Wright reports.
"If the shoe was on the other foot, if these were sovereign wealth investors in France, Germany, the UK or the US earning fabulous returns, reducing countries’ national deficits, funding social security costs and investing into the rest of the world, would they think it was an issue? I suspect they wouldn’t"
TEMASEK’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Simon Israel, has a point when he boasts of his institution’s governance, openness and performance. At a public sector level, Singapore, which lacks democracy or freedom of speech on any western scale, isn’t feted for openness or accountability. But the fact is that compared with the big sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf, for example, Temasek is actually pretty open, starting with the fact that Euromoney is sitting in its Orchard Road head office interviewing its management and leafing through its 113-page annual review. "When you think of the Singapore state you don’t normally think of transparency," says a fund manager who has dealt with both Singaporean and Gulf sovereign wealth funds.