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Singapore: Will Temasek change tack?

Temasek’s decision to replace Ho Ching with Chip Goodyear as chief executive raises a host of questions about the future direction of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

The first is whether the change signals a greater degree of independence for the S$185 billion ($121.4 billion) fund. Temasek’s top brass has always claimed the fund has been run entirely independently; in an interview with Euromoney last year Temasek’s executive director, Simon Israel, put it like this. "I find it interesting to apply to people the Singapore Stock Exchange test of independence: independence of mind and judgement," he said.

"If you looked at any member of the Temasek board, every one of them has a completely independent mind and sense of judgement, and a very strong set of principles that would never accept the government interfering in the business. Frankly it is almost a parallel to what it would be if we were a listed company."

But be that as it may, it has never helped Temasek’s image that Ho Ching is the wife of the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. However, Temasek is widely regarded as having among the best levels of transparency and corporate governance of all sovereign wealth funds.

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