Singapore: UBS bailout will make GIC biggest shareholder
Pays SFr10 billion for a 9% stake in the Swiss bank.
Tony Tan Keng Yam, GIC: usually takes small stakes
You will have heard Singapore referred to as the Switzerland of Asia. There’s the emphasis on private banking; the willingness to protect the privacy of the client; even the whole gleaming cleanliness of the place. But now Singapore has overhauled the comparison, and perhaps changed its direction, by becoming the biggest shareholder in Switzerland’s most powerful bank. The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, known as GIC, is one of two large sovereign wealth funds that invest on behalf of the Singapore state, the other being Temasek. It manages "well over $100 billion" in foreign reserves, according to GIC itself (that’s as specific as it gets; Standard Chartered reckons it’s $215 billion, Morgan Stanley $330 billion) through eight offices worldwide, invested in all the main asset classes. And in December it made its most high profile investment yet, when it put in SFr11 billion ($9.54 billion) of a SFr13 billion capital injection into UBS through a convertible note issue that will eventually give GIC around a 9% stake in the Swiss bank (the other SFr2 billion is from an unnamed Middle Eastern investor).