Sovereign wealth funds: Goodyear retreat raises strategic issues for Temasek
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Sovereign wealth funds: Goodyear retreat raises strategic issues for Temasek

A reversal of a change of strategy is likely to have a worse effect than if no change had been announced.

So what now for Temasek? Chip Goodyear’s curious decision to step down from the chief executive role several months before he was even due to begin it raises a number of questions about the direction of Singapore’s state investment arm.

An assessment of the impact depends on what you think Goodyear was appointed for in the first place. If it was to bring resources nouse and a change of asset allocation to the sovereign fund, that’s actually been under way all year anyway. Temasek has been selling down its western bank exposures, albeit getting out of Bank of America (in which it gained a stake through its Merrill Lynch holding) and Barclays at what history will show was a poorly timed moment. And almost every recent purchase it has made has been in the resources sector anyway: a stake in Chinese iron ore producer Lung Ming and a $303 million purchase of a stake in Olam International, which is mainly involved in soft commodities. Temasek had already set its new asset allocation formula, with 10% of the portfolio in emerging markets such as Latin America and Africa alongside 20% in developed markets, 30% in Singapore and 40% in Asia, before the change of chief executive was announced.

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