~by: Leong Sze Hian~
I refer to the article “CNB miscalculated statistics since 2008, releases correct figures” (see HERE).
Following this revelation, the blogs have been abuzz as to whether other statistics may have problems too.
According to the annual reports of the Government Investment Corporation (GIC), it was reporting its 20-year nominal returns in both US$ (5.7%) and S$ (4.4%), in its 2009 report (see HERE). It also gave the real return in Singapore Dollars (S$), at 2.6 per cent, but not in United States of America Dollars (US$).
However GIC's 2010 and 2011 reports only gave returns in US$. Which means that the report went from reflecting no real US$ returns in 2009, to only real US$ returns in 2010 and 2011, being 3.8 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively (see HERE), and no longer in S$. Why is this so?
What was the return in S$? Since the S$ has been appreciating against the US$, was the S$ return much lower? In this connection, one reason that has been cited for the declining returns was the appreciation of the S$ against the US$.
In its latest 2011 report, GIC has disclosed the 5 and 10-year nominal US$ returns (being 6.3 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively), instead of just the 20-year returns in previous reports. However, the new 5 and 10-year returns are only given in nominal and not real terms? And again why are the returns not reflected in S$? Are the S$ returns much lower than the US$ ones?
Why is there so much inconsistency in GIC's reporting? Is this another computer error like Central Narcotic Bureau's?
Mr Chua Soo Kiat's in his letter published in the Today newspaper 'Disclosure is important' (see HERE) asked why the GIC does not disclose the amount of funds it manages and its annual profit and loss, unlike the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Temasek Holdings, Instead of a straight forward answer to Mr Chua's simple question as to how much it has lost on its UBS investment (in the light of the recent UBS rogue trader's US$2.3 billion scandal), GIC has once again harped on its 20-year returns (see HERE).
Given the apparent “comedy of (computer) errors” in its inconsistent reporting described above, is the GIC's consistent refusal to disclose more information when asked by Singaporeans and in Parliament, reasonable and acceptable?