April 21 (Reuters) - The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) said a global financial crisis and recession was increasingly likely but that its investments in Western banks were long-term in nature. [ID:SP31328].
GIC invested 11 billion Swiss francs ($11 billion) in mandatory convertible notes in UBS last December, after the bank’s U.S. housing crisis losses. In January, GIC invested $6.88 billion in Citigroup.
Here are some facts on Singapore’s GIC and its sister agency Temasek [TEM.UL], which also has significant holdings in Western financial institutions.
* GIC invests more than $100 billion of Singapore’s foreign reserves abroad. It handles three quarters of its portfolio internally and outsources the rest to external fund managers.
* Morgan Stanley said in February GIC was the world’s third-largest sovereign wealth fund with $330 billion in assets under management, behind the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority with $875 billion and Norway’s Government Pension Fund with $380 billion.
* GIC is one of the 10 biggest property investors in the world, and owns Merrill Lynch’s MER.N London office and Westin Paris. Its other holdings range from those in Indian financial firms such as ICICI Bank (ICBK.BO) to Budapest airport.
* Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, is the chairman of GIC’s board of directors. His son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is deputy chairman. GIC was set up in 1981 with assets of under S$10 billion ($6.6 billion).
* Lee Kuan Yew revealed in 2006 that the fund had earned an average return of 9.5 percent annually over the last 25 years in U.S. dollar terms. In Singapore dollar terms, GIC’s average annual rate of return was 8.2 percent, he said.
* GIC said in 2006 it would increase its exposure to emerging markets, private equity and hedge funds. About half of its portfolio consisted of equity investments.
* Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, headed by the prime minister’s wife, Ho Ching, has a S$164 billion ($114.1 billion) portfolio.
* According to Morgan Stanley, Temasek manages $159.2 billion and is the world’s seventh-largest sovereign wealth fund.
* Singapore’s Ministry of Finance, Temasek’s sole shareholder, last month underlined its support for a set of voluntary principles agreed with the United States and aimed at regulating sovereign wealth fund investments.
* Temasek last month raised $3 billion by selling Singapore electricity firm Tuas Power to China’s Huaneng and it offloaded its 42 percent stake in Indonesia’s sixth-biggest lender Bank Internasional Indonesia (BNII.JK) to Malayan Banking Bhd (MBBM.KL) for $1.1 billion.
* Last November it offloaded some shares in Bank of China (3988.HK), China Construction Bank O939.HK and shipper COSCO (1919.HK), a fraction of its China holdings, but enough to raise $1.1 billion, around five times what it paid for the shares.
* Temasek’s government links have provoked opposition to investments in Southeast Asia, such as the Temasek-led $3.8 billion investment in 2006 in Thailand’s Shin Corp, owned by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. (Editing by Neil Fullick)