After being fairly tight-lipped about the employment details of Temasek, the Government-owned company has revealed some details on its global headcount as well as the number of Singaporeans it employs.
According to Temasek Review 2020 report highlights, the company disclosed its staff composition proposition in a number of graphs.
“We have over 800 people, spanning 32 nationalities across eight countries, investing and working together for a better tomorrow,” the commercial investment company said.
Without going into specific details, it added: “About 60 per cent of our staff across our 11 offices in eight countries are Singaporeans.”
Temasek reiterated that the biggest chunk of its employees in all of its offices around the world are locals.
“Our current nationality mix is about 60 per cent Singaporeans and 40 per cent other nationals, which includes about 10 per cent Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs).
“This mix will continue to change as we work towards opening more offices in Asia, Europe and elsewhere,” Temasek noted.
As to the breakdown of the nationalities, the company detailed: “Chinese (9 per cent), American (7 per cent), Indian (6 per cent), British (3 per cent) and Malaysian (3 per cent) constitute the next five largest nationalities.”
Based on the figures that Temasek had revealed, we can tell that about 500 of the company’s total headcounts are Singaporeans. The remainder are foreigners and Permanent Residents.
In a Facebook post, the company also provided another set of graphs to show the staff composition.
Separately, the company has also stated that it has grown over the last two decades, from less than 200 to over 600 in Singapore, where most Singaporeans are employed.
“Temasek has its roots in Singapore, a country founded on the ideals of meritocracy, regardless of race, language or religion. Our character is shaped by the values, the integrity and the capability of our people.”
Based on the Temasek Review 2020 highlight, the company also emphasised its corporate values: “We strive to build capable teams in various parts of the world, with a good mix of local knowledge and global outlook. We bond as One Temasek, regardless of the colour of our skin, or the colour of our passports.”
The report also stated that the net portfolio value of the company as of 31st March 2020 is S$306 billion. This latest figure is a slight dip from the previous two years – S$313 billion (2019) and S$308 (2018).
However, Temasek does not disclose disclose its management costs like Norway’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) does. Popular financial blogger Leong Sze Hian had made the same observation back in 2018.
In fact, Bloomberg reported in January 2018 that Norway’s US$1 Trillion Oil SWF was taken to task over its rising management costs. The Norwegian Finance Ministry has pointed out that the management costs of its SWF fund have risen “significantly over time” and are projected to hit 3.5 billion kroner (S$750 million) in 2018, up from 2.1 billion kroner (S$480 million) in 2014. It also pointed out that the fund is now running ahead of schedule in terms of employees.
With this information, Mr Leong has worked out that the management costs of Norway’s SWF is only about 0.05% of its portfolio value. But in the case of Temasek, it does not disclose its management costs including critical information like CEO’s annual remuneration to the public at all.
“What we know is that Temasek’s administrative expenses were S$8.4 billion in 2017, on a net portfolio value of S$275 billion,” Mr Leong noted.
90% of its Singapore staff are locals and PRs
This is not the first time the staff composition of Temasek has been questioned. On 14 August, the investment company released a statement responding to what it called a “divisive, racist campaign” towards its employees from India on social media.
It explained that its India employees have been “targeted”, adding that it makes the company “very angry at the false claims perpetuated”.
“We have referred these posts to Facebook as in clear breach of their own community guidelines on hate speech, and will continue to press them to be more active in stamping out such hate speech, wherever it occurs on their platforms.
“Among our 600 strong staff at our headquarters in Singapore, 90% are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents (PRs). This is broadly the same among our senior leadership (Managing Directors and above).”
Almost 50% of Temasek’s top management are foreigners
Separately, in a Facebook post last month (16 August), blogger Phillip Ang shared an image of Temasek Holding’s management team while highlighting the composition between local and foreign talents.
Specifically, the image shows 29 members of the company’s management team as listed on its website. The image noted that 14 of them are foreigners, or 48%. It questions, “Do Singaporean PMETs have any hope when Temasek is managed by 48% foreigners?”
Mr Ang, in his caption, also asked, “Temasek says Ho Ching is not among the top 5 highest paid in Temasek but are there others paid above $100 million? Why is Temasek afraid to disclose total management cost and salary breakdown?”
In 2011, according to the annual Temasek Review, senior management of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund consisted of 43 people which included managing directors of different departments and regions. Of those, 10 were foreigners. That’s roughly only 23% of all senior management.
Compare this to nine years later in 2020, it’s clear that the composition has tipped towards more foreigners in senior management positions. Now, almost half of Temasek’s top executives are not Singaporeans.
As Mr Ang asked in his Facebook post, “Do Singaporean PMETs have any hope when Temasek is managed by 48% foreigners?”