Below is an open letter sent by a member of the public, Jeffery Ho to the Singapore President, Mdm Halimah Yacob on 13 Nov via her official email.

Dear President Halimah,

It is distressing to read of Temasek’s failed investment in FTX. I read that Temasek participated in all 3 rounds of FTX’s fundraising.

Should Singapore’s SWFs (including Temasek) invest in companies/funds with “highly speculative nature of the business model and the underlying assets” which a “major financial institution” wisely avoided*?.

Was full and proper Due Diligence done?

As President, I understand you have oversight to protect Singapore’s reserves, so I hope you will investigate (hopefully before your current term ends next year) how Temasek managed to lose so much of our hard-earned reserves (in hundreds of millions of S$ as reported?).

Although FTX is a done deal and probably to be fully written off, I hope something can be done to prevent such risky and highly speculative investments by our SWFs involving Singapore’s reserves in the future.

Thank you for protecting Singapore’s reserves.


 

* Financial Times, (12 November 2022):

a senior executive at a major financial institution said his firm even briefly debated buying FTX as part of an internal push to “go bigger on crypto”. But the idea was discarded because of the “highly speculative nature of the business model and the underlying assets”, he added.”

“When Bravo and a partner Tre Sayle began due diligence for the funding round, they were taken aback by FTX’s numbers. The two-year-old start-up led by a relatively small staff of young traders was on course to earn over $200mn in operating profit for the year, unprecedented margins for an early-stage growth company that would normally be losing money. Bravo was blown away. Thoma Bravo invested more than $125mn in the round in June 2021, becoming one of FTX’s largest backers.

Thoma Bravo is just one of the blue-chip investors, including Singapore state-owned fund Temasek, Tiger Global and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, whose support helped lend Bankman-Fried’s business empire credibility before its sudden collapse this week, driven by concerns about its links with his Alameda Research proprietary trading group…

“These investors will be left facing tough questions from their own clients about how they got it so wrong, why they did not demand seats on FTX’s board, and whether they ever really understood how the business was making money….

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