The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), the city-state’s sovereign wealth fund that manages over $100 billion of investments across more than 40 countries, on Wednesday announced changes to its top management for strengthening its reach into emerging markets, including India.
While Seek Ngee Huat and Teh Kok Peng will lead GIC’s Latin America and China business groups, respectively, Quah Wee Ghee will retire as President of GIC Asset Management to lead the wealth fund’s India business group.
“These changes will ensure smooth transition in the leadership of the three investment companies of GIC and at the same time strengthen GIC’s reach in the emerging markets. GIC builds its competitive advantage through an investment strategy of ‘integrated diversity’,” GIC Deputy Chairman and Executive Director Tony Tan said in a statement.
GIC is among the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, owned by the Singapore government. Temasek Holdings is the government’s other investment arm that is concentrated principally on Singapore, Asia and the emerging economies.
“There are unique investment opportunities in the new financial landscape, especially in the emerging markets, which call for GIC to operate as one integrated organisation while mining the expertise in GIC’s range of asset classes. We do this without compromising ‘Chinese Wall’ separations,” he added.
As of March last year, over 70 per cent of GIC’s investments remain concentrated in the Americas and Europe, including in entities such as Citigroup, UBS, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and The Blackstone Group. Asia holds 24 per cent of the portfolio, with Australasia containing the remainder.
In India, GIC holds stakes in financial services firm Edelweiss and the Infrastructure Development Finance Company. In March, GIC officially opened its India office in Mumbai, making it the fund’s eighth overseas office outside Singapore, where it is headquartered.
“GIC has been amongst the earliest institutional investors in emerging Asian markets. In India, GIC has been investing across the public and private markets since the early 1990s. Setting up the India office demonstrates GIC’s commitment to secure a larger role in the Indian growth story,” Tan had said in March.
The emphasis on emerging markets is justified, IHS Global Insights Asia chief economist Rajiv Biswas said, given the expectation of higher return from these key regions. “The refocusing of investment strategy by global investors is seeing a move from the West to the East. The key implications for the next decade is that emerging markets will outperform developed markets, and this flows through to greater earnings growth on equities in emerging markets,” he said.