Sydney Morning Herald:
SINGAPOREANS aren’t usually given to open criticism of the Lee family that has ruled them for half a century. Rightly or wrongly, some presume that in their tightly controlled island state, walls have ears, and one never knows who is listening. But this time it’s different. Singaporeans are deeply displeased with their Prime Minister’s wife, Ho Ching. – “Lumbered with the boss’s wife”.
Investment in our only natural resource, our people, could potentially have had a much higher internal rate of return, in the form of a more highly educated workforce, than that achieved by Temasek or GIC on their overseas investments.
Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) are not a new idea. According to Wikipedia, the term Sovereign Wealth Fund was first used by Andrew Rozanov in an article entitled, ‘Who holds the wealth of nations?’ in the Central Banking Journal of May 2005. A SWF may be broadly defined as a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial instruments.
Theoretically one can distinguish two types of SWFs. The first, and the oldest form of SWF, is one set up to manage revenues from an exhaustible resource such as oil, or one which derives its assets from government budget surpluses. An example of one based on resources, and arguably the first SWF was the Kuwait Investment Authority, a commodity SWF created in 1953 from oil revenues before Kuwait even gained independence from Great Britain. A more recent example is the Norwegian SWF which was set up primarily to ensure that the wealth represented by Norway’s oil reserves was not squandered on current consumption but turned into financial assets which would benefit future generations.