Selective comparison is meaningless. Leong Sze Hian.

Comparing apples with oranges – “Temasek outdid key benchmarks”?

Leong Sze Hian


I refer to the article “Temasek outdid key benchmarks” (ST, Jun 19).

In comparing Temasek’s returns with other benchmarks from March 1999 to March 2009, there was a footnote that for Temasek, “Assume March ’09 market value = Nov ’08 market value”.

Why is it that Temasek’s March 09 market value was not used in the comparison?

In the recent meltdown of the global equity markets, its worse point was in March 2009 (MSCI World).

Interestingly, the comparison did not compare Temasek with any other funds in its own category – Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) like Abu Dhabi’s.

The benchmarks compared to have also not been consistent.

For example, it was recently compared to Harvard’s Endowment, and now to Warren Buffett.

Also, the comparison is only for one time period.

Last month, the comparison was for six years, and now it is for 10 years.

In order for any comparison to be more meaningful, the returns should be for various time periods, like 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years and from inception, and against the same benchmarks.

Finally, is this latest return adjusted for Government cash injections, state asset transfers and valuations, and state asset sales?