GIC launches book on how Singapore's reserves have been managed

At the launch (from left) GIC CEO Lim Chow Kiat, Professor J.Y. Pillay, author Freddy Orchard and GIC former group president Lim Siong Guan. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - With the demands of the future ahead great and complex, sovereign wealth fund GIC must continue building on its strategy of 40 years of safeguarding and investing Singapore's reserves to move forward, said Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

He penned these words in the foreword section of a book launched by GIC on Tuesday (Oct 5) to commemorate GIC's 40th anniversary.

Mr Tharman, who is also deputy chairman of GIC, added that GIC will have to navigate an environment shaped by more fundamental challenges and opportunities.

"In an environment of lower expected returns for most asset classes, it will have to seek out business models driven by new technologies and innovation that can cut across market cycles," he said.

Factors such as heightened geopolitical tensions, the possible emergence of different technological ecosystems and the transition to a low-carbon economy could also add complexity to investment decisions, Mr Tharman added.

The book, called Bold Vision: The Untold Story Of Singapore's Reserves And Its Sovereign Wealth Fund, spans the history of how Singapore's reserves have been managed from the early years of the Republic to the founding of GIC and its journey in the last 40 years.

It was written by Mr Freddy Orchard, former director of economics at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and GIC.

The book is an extended version of an e-book that was released earlier.

New content in this print edition includes Mr Tharman's foreword and a 30-page epilogue that summarises how GIC has developed as well as the critical events, decisions and values that have shaped the institution.

GIC chief executive Lim Chow Kiat told the media during an interview at the book launch that going forward, three big challenges for GIC lie in "scale, scope and depth".

"We started 40 years ago with much smaller funds, so today we have a scale challenge," Mr Lim said.

On scope, he said it is a question of how to cover more markets and new areas - not just because of scale, but also because traditional markets are not offering prospects of good returns.

The book was written by Mr Freddy Orchard, former director of economics at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and GIC. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

"And the last is depth, that as you scale up and expand your scope, you still have to make sure that in these areas, especially the new ones, you have sufficient depth."

Bold Vision is on sale at $29.90 in bookshops and online, with an audiobook version accessible on Spotify.

GIC's royalty fees will be donated to the Singapore Book Council to help its education outreach to schools.

By year end, a Chinese version of the book will also be out for sale.

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