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Former GIC CIO Ng Kok Song an independent presidential candidate? Singaporeans have been fooled by mainstream media

by Philip Ang

On 19 July, Ng Kok Song, former GIC Chief Investment Officer, announced that he would run for president in Singapore.

According to our mainstream media, Ng had ‘concerns about integrity’ of our national institutions.

Ng’s rags-to-riches story was also reported by the foreign media.

While the former GIC CIO’s concerns may be justified by the recent record scandals involving People’s Action Party (PAP) ministers, Singaporeans should also be aware that he has been part of an opaque PAP system during his entire career, ie no transparency with regard to investment of state reserves, non-disclosure of top executive remuneration, concealing information which should be in the public domain, etc.

1. Recall that GIC had invested almost US$17 bil in convertible securities of only two banks – UBS and Citigroup – while global share markets went into a tailspin during the 2007/2008 global financial crisis.

GIC was investing mostly in Central Provident Fund retirement funds, and this was totally reckless because the number of toxic assets in the banks’ books was a known unknown.

Yet, GIC went ahead and made the two biggest bets on these two banks in 2007/2008.

If the US govt had not bailed out Citigroup by reducing the exercise price of Citigroup’s securities, GIC could have lost an estimated S$10 bil.

Ng Kok Song was the reckless GIC CIO.

2. Ko Song is, in one way or another, linked to the PAP despite his claim of having no political affiliation. (see image below)

GIC’s board included Tharman as one of its directors. Since both were part of PAP’s opaque system, we can bet our last dollar on transparency not seeing daylight should Ng or Tharman become president.

3. GIC has been deceiving or misleading Singaporeans by publishing more favourable statistics. Prior to the unexpected decline of the US dollars, GIC’s returns were published in Singapore dollars.

But post Global Financial Crisis, SGD returns were no longer published because returns in SGD would be lower than in US$. The chart below shows a sharp decline in years prior to the GFC.

Above images from a 2014 blog post @ Disclosing GIC’s returns in Singapore dollar will reveal its poor performance

There is no reason not to disclose returns in SGD because reserves have to be converted to local currency to benefit Singaporeans. Unless the PAP has no intention of using our reserves at all.

If Temasek could disclose returns in SGD, GIC has no reason not to do so.

4. Since 2014, GIC has reclassified ‘nominal bonds’ and ‘cash’ under ‘Nominal bonds and Cash’. These are clearly two different asset types, and it appears that GIC is attempting to conceal its cash – billion/tens of billions – position.

Why? Is some hanky panky going on?

2013 Annual Report
2014 Annual Report
Above images in a 2017 blog post @ Why does CPF fund manager GIC need to conceal its cash position?

5. The hand that has fed Ng his entire working life can be traced to the PAP. Even Ng’s post-retirement career would not have taken off if not for billions in state reserves/converted CPF monies handed to him and two former GIC colleagues to start a hedge fund.

If Ko Song had a reputation similar to Ho Ching – likened to Warren Buffet, investors would have come knocking on his door. Instead, he had continued to rely on Singaporean reserves to further enrich himself.

Temasek puts US$3b in Avanda’s hedge fund-like vehicle | The Straits Times

ST: “SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – Temasek Holdings put US$3 billion (S$4.05 billion) with a fund managed by Avanda Investment Management Pte, started last year by former GIC senior executives.”

Temasek Holdings’ former CEO is Ho Ching, wife of PAP leader PM Lee. Ng is Avanda’s Investment Management’s Co-founder and Chairman.

Even GIC had also contributed CPF monies loaned to the government/actual reserves to Avanda.

Will Ng dare exert his ‘independence’ when threatened with the withdrawal of billions from his Avanda fund?


Ng Ko Song has always been enslaved to the opaque PAP system.

Ng’s rags-to-riches story is no different from former HDB 3-roomers Chan Chun Seng’s or Shanmugam’s. People do change, and most become abusive, arrogant and disconnected from the masses after amassing wealth, power or both.

An ostentatious president-wannabe can never unite a majority of Singaporeans who live in public housing estates.

The former GIC CIO was also a key participant in the most reckless investment decision at the height of the global financial crisis.

Despite managing state reserves, the remuneration of senior GIC executives – including Ng’s – has remained a state secret.

Ko Song’s success and wealth came from his PAP master. Let’s not delude ourselves that he will not bite the hand that has fed him for decades.

This post was first published on likedatosocanmeh.wordpress.com and republished with permission

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