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Thread: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

  1. #21

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by Yappy View Post
    Ha... and you remembered the Micropolis. I think it was a good lesson learnt and burnt badly. A loss is sometimes a gain. Are we not thriving after the loss? Can we always win? Accountability, yes accountablity.. how do you know that no head roll?
    1. GIC's gains or losses have nothing to do with whether we thrive or not. And vice versa. It's not as if S'poreans get annual dividends from GIC investments.

    2. I asked you the question, why you ask me back? If you know heads rolled, name them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yappy View Post
    We are not the richest but we are neither the poorest. We have enough to allow the current, the next and the future generation to enjoy the fruit... so where do you think the money from?
    1. Really? Where did you get that idea? Did you crunch the numbers against the projected needs of Singaporeans 30 years down the line before coming up with this claim?

    In fact, do you even have the number? I remember that even after 4 years in office, the late President Ong couldn't get the sum total of the "reserves" he was asked to "safeguard" despite asking the head of the Civil Service to give it to him at the very start of his term.

    2. Have you read the govt financial statements? How much of today's public expenditure is being funded by returns from GIC investments? Can you quote me any commitment by any minister which says that they will use future investment returns to fund future needs of the population in areas such as healthcare?
    Last edited by waileong; 22nd January 2008 at 05:25 PM.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by Yappy View Post
    Ha... and you remembered the Micropolis. I think it was a good lesson learnt and burnt badly. A loss is sometimes a gain. Are we not thriving after the loss? Can we always win? Accountability, yes accountablity.. how do you know that no head roll?

    Yes over the years... the GIC made some wrong decisions and I believe much was loss.. but at the end if he or she regain and recover... so what so bad about it?
    No venture no gain.. do you want our monies to stay at maybe 2% interest yearly or do you want to throw the line and get a big fish?
    We are not the richest but we are neither the poorest. We have enough to allow the current, the next and the future generation to enjoy the fruit... so where do you think the money from?
    head rolls?
    yeah, to the top n heading it now.
    how i wish i can roll my head that way.

    no venture no gain,
    with my TAX money?

    to allow our future generations to use the fruit of our labour,
    maybe u like to read n find out how tough it is to use past monies by current govn.

    the monies came from the higher than needed taxes that is collected.
    r u beggars?
    i'm not,
    so i m kind of sick when i have to pay more than its required
    n later get some of it back like its a bonus of some kind.
    first they over estimated what they need,
    than set up depts to return them to me,....

    its a funny world we live in,
    i just try to laugh thm off.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Exactly. And they psycho people into thinking budget surpluses are good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalas View Post
    to allow our future generations to use the fruit of our labour,
    maybe u like to read n find out how tough it is to use past monies by current govn.

    the monies came from the higher than needed taxes that is collected.
    r u beggars?
    i'm not,
    so i m kind of sick when i have to pay more than its required
    n later get some of it back like its a bonus of some kind.
    first they over estimated what they need,
    than set up depts to return them to me,....

    its a funny world we live in,
    i just try to laugh thm off.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    1. Volumes have been written about investment by thousands of authors, whoc would beg to differ with you. There is a right and wrong for every investment.
    i'm afraid that while you do make some sense about accountability, nonetheless - this is quite a moot point with bad supporting statements made.

    volumes have been written about every subject in the world. in that case, there is a right and wrong for everything. so tell me, would you kill the child to save the world, or let the child live anyways? is there a right and wrong for everything? no, there are always uncertainties.

    in any case, who would you hold accountable in this particular scenario? is it really the business of people who are not in the loop to pass judgement from their pedestals? does a king really have the right to give reasoning and logic with regards to how his general manages the army without murkying the waters too much?

    yes, accountability is an important thing. so is the fact that people have to be trusted to do their job. until it has been proven that there has been too much mistakes made, such that the overall picture is sour.. i personally think it's unfair to pass any comment about this particular issue, since it errs into the corner of not looking at the big picture.

    in the past, mistakes might have been made. there has been hoo-ha too. yet year by year a glowing performance is recorded. so you tell me - are you sure that holding someone accountable like that is the right way to go? or are we just simply going through the motions because we are frustrated with our own lives?

  5. #25

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    1. You missed my point. I'll explain again. I never said there is a right and wrong for everything. I only said it was for investments. Why? Because success or failure is very clear cut, $$$ and cents and ROI. It's not subjective like art or photography, where one man's meat is another's poison.

    2. The difference between democracy and autocracy is that the former allows citizens to question their elected representatives, while the latter allows the people in power to question their citizens, by force if necessary. If you understood democracy, you'd understand that everyone has a right to question their elected representatives. Nothing to do with any pedestal or any loop.

    In fact, if you want to talk pedestals or loops, I'd say the guys in power now should get off their pedestals, or it would appear that they think that they are above question by the public. The days of idol-worship "democracy" are over.

    3. How can people here be held accountable if there is no one to challenge them? If they can get away with saying nothing? The reason those CEO's got ousted is because the analysts questioned them, the media questioned them, the fund managers questioned them, questioned the board. What about here? Who's to question the people in power? The Straits Times?

    4. I'm sure you'll hold on to your big picture view. You may be surprised that I look at the big picture too. My big picture point is that there is no strong mechanism to hold people accountable in Singapore. And not just in this instance.

    5. I'm sure that holding people accountable is the right way to go. It's better than NOT holding people accountable. Elected officials can't go around saying it's not my role to comment when asked.

    6. If I was Tharman, I would have said that the Govt does not interfere in GIC's investment decisions on a day-to-day basis, but it is satisfied that the investments were made in line with the mandates given to GIC, and that since they are strategic long term investments, the Govt will review the performance of this investment as part of the strategic portfolio performance of GIC as part of its annual review. A far better non-answer than saying it's not my pasal to comment.
    Last edited by waileong; 23rd January 2008 at 05:08 AM.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    ................
    Last edited by contaxable; 4th March 2008 at 09:05 PM.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    ..........
    Last edited by contaxable; 4th March 2008 at 09:05 PM.

  8. #28

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    I think the point that some have tried to make is that there needs to be a transparent accountability for what is done with the funds the GIC is controlling... at the end of the day, these funds are supposed to be for the benefit of the people... the fund managers seem to be doing a decent job up to now, so why not show the people what they have done so far?... and the past is no guarantee that the future will run smoothly as well... the people deserve to have a concrete assurance that any possible future hickups if they occur will not be due to negligence... this is the minimum that the people deserve as stake holders in this country, with as much stake in the future of this country as any persons in the Government and civil service... and the people must want to know, must shake off the apathy towards politics and how the Government and civil service runs the country... just because we have achieved so much so far does not mean we can put the country on autopilot...

  9. #29

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    1. GIC's gains or losses have nothing to do with whether we thrive or not. And vice versa. It's not as if S'poreans get annual dividends from GIC investments.

    You invest and you made So who gets the dividens from GIC?

    2. I asked you the question, why you ask me back? If you know heads rolled, name them.

    You are right. I dont have the answer.


    1. Really? Where did you get that idea? Did you crunch the numbers against the projected needs of Singaporeans 30 years down the line before coming up with this claim?

    In fact, do you even have the number? I remember that even after 4 years in office, the late President Ong couldn't get the sum total of the "reserves" he was asked to "safeguard" despite asking the head of the Civil Service to give it to him at the very start of his term.

    You are also right. If you want to know more, go the eCitizen website... too long a story to tell.

    2. Have you read the govt financial statements? How much of today's public expenditure is being funded by returns from GIC investments? Can you quote me any commitment by any minister which says that they will use future investment returns to fund future needs of the population in areas such as healthcare?
    You are right again. Again lookup at eCitizen Website and where do you think the money goes to?

  10. #30

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalas View Post
    head rolls?
    yeah, to the top n heading it now.
    how i wish i can roll my head that way.

    no venture no gain,
    with my TAX money?

    to allow our future generations to use the fruit of our labour,
    maybe u like to read n find out how tough it is to use past monies by current govn.

    the monies came from the higher than needed taxes that is collected.
    r u beggars?
    i'm not,
    so i m kind of sick when i have to pay more than its required
    n later get some of it back like its a bonus of some kind.
    first they over estimated what they need,
    than set up depts to return them to me,....

    its a funny world we live in,
    i just try to laugh thm off.
    You are right. No tax and make everybody happy.

    So the teachers shall work without pay, let UN fund the building of our roads, beg some rich men to built our schools.

    It's an idea world... everything is free

  11. #31

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalas View Post
    head rolls?
    yeah, to the top n heading it now.
    how i wish i can roll my head that way.

    no venture no gain,
    with my TAX money?

    to allow our future generations to use the fruit of our labour,
    maybe u like to read n find out how tough it is to use past monies by current govn.

    the monies came from the higher than needed taxes that is collected.
    r u beggars?
    i'm not,
    so i m kind of sick when i have to pay more than its required
    n later get some of it back like its a bonus of some kind.
    first they over estimated what they need,
    than set up depts to return them to me,....

    its a funny world we live in,
    i just try to laugh thm off.
    Sorry to hear that you are sick when money is given to you. Perhaps you may wish to donate the monies to the needy. Alternatively, you can refuse to collect it. Do not apply for it if you don't need it. And if you do apply, please use my account no instead.

  12. #32

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Sarcasm-- the desperate last stand?

  13. #33

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    1. You missed my point. I'll explain again. I never said there is a right and wrong for everything. I only said it was for investments. Why? Because success or failure is very clear cut, $$$ and cents and ROI. It's not subjective like art or photography, where one man's meat is another's poison.
    Hi,

    Just some 2 cents here:

    On your point on this - is it possible to quantify a right/wrong investment all the time? When a investment decision is undertaken, fund managers/investment analysts take into consideration the outlook of present/future market conditions at that point in time.

    As we all know, market conditions change all the time (and at times, volatile as well). Only time (and investment horizon is important too) will tell if that investment is a good one or not.

    Sure, it's easy to comment on the success of an investment ex-post, but to pass judgement on it ex-ante is pretty much tough talk. I think if that individual is able to do this with great accuracy, he/she's going to make it really far in this field.

    In the real world, there are little "superstar" analysts who can beat the markets all the time, and this is at times, a fact that most don't want to recognize (unfortunately.) IMHO, Warren Buffett's a superstar in his own right - but he does admit his oversight at times, like missing out on the tech run entirely (ok, at least he didn't get burnt by the .com bubble).

    So in this case, does that mean that we shouldn't invest at all? To a certain extent, investments are like taking a gamble; on hoping that your market predictions are on track to what's happening in the real world. How much of a gamble one is willing to take depends on his risk appetite. If one is wanting to achieve superior risk-adjusted returns, he/she must be willing to accept more risk.

    I think to these SWFs, it's a tricky balance - on one hand, people are clamouring for higher returns on state reserves (i.e. CPF, etc), but on the other, investing in state funds are subject to more scrutiny, and therefore restricts their investment mandate. (GIC & Temasek have different mandates though).

    I beg to differ on your last point - investment research/analysis is indeed a art and science. Each analyst has the same set of information for analysis, but what differs from individual to individual is their interpretation/evaluation of the numbers, which is extremely subjective and absolutely critical for successful analysis. One man's meat can be another man's poison, and there are no hard and fast numbers for modelling.

    Hope I don't sound like I'm defending anyone here.
    Last edited by SNAG; 23rd January 2008 at 09:36 AM.

  14. #34

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    In peanut-monetary term, it's only a bagful ...
    Dont worry too much my friends, when you spread your peanuts among the many monkeys in the forest, there are bound to have some good monkeys ....
    always the Light, .... always.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by SNAG View Post
    Hi,

    Sure, it's easy to comment on the success of an investment ex-post, but to pass judgement on it ex-ante is pretty much tough talk. I think if that individual is able to do this with great accuracy, he/she's going to make it really far in this field.
    Understand, but please note:

    a. I repeat. This is not about getting things right 100% of the time. I already mentioned I don't expect fund managers to be divine, to predict markets. The test of a fund manager is how he handles the market, including how he manages wrong decisions. (Post #19)

    b. It follows from a. that a good fund manager will outperform the market consistently, while a bad one will underperform, or is at best, a random walk. The returns generated by the fund manager can be objectively quantified over any time horizon and can be compared. Risk-weighted if you like.

    c. It follows from the above that there is always a right or wrong for every given investment decision, although it may not be apparent till months or years later.

    d. As to whether it's fair to hold people accountable for something they cannot predict, my view is simple-- you want to make big bucks, you want me to turn over billions of dollars to you to manage, you must be accountable for the bad decisions, even if they were caused by market factors.

    Why? I hired you to manage things. If the market turned sour, you should have taken the necessary mitigating actions. You should have hedged, you should have cut losses, etc. Don't come and tell me the losses were due to factors beyond your control. I didn't hire you to control the market. I hired you to make money.

    Do people not select fund managers based on their track record? Do people not reward them based on their performance? Why then the hesitation in holding them accountable?

    e. If you think the above is cruel, think of what every ship captain, air captain, etc. goes through. One little mistake, if the ship runs aground or if the plane has a minor accident-- their career is finished. No one will accept that the captain made an honest mistake. Not when thousands of lives are involved.

    Frankly, if you even drive a car in Singapore, the same applies to you. You hurt or kill someone on the road, even if it's an accident, even if it's a mistake, you'll be punished as well. There's no mercy for mistakes. Accountability at your doorstep (or steering wheel).

    f. As for different valuations, the examples you cited is what separates a good fund manager from a lousy fund manager. The data is objective-- sales, EBITDA, etc but it can be interpreted in different ways, and it can be combined with your own estimates of the future potential to come up with a basis for an investment decision.

    The test of a good fund manager is to interpret this data and to make the decision, and then to manage the follow-up actions after the decision has been made.
    Last edited by waileong; 23rd January 2008 at 10:59 AM.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Don't understand the logic.
    If Temasek & GIC are government owned entities, presumably setup with taxpayers' money, shouldn't the government be accountable to the tax paying populace for what happens in these organisations?

    Not government's role to comment? Can't figure this one out.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by SNAG View Post
    Hi,

    Just some 2 cents here:

    On your point on this - is it possible to quantify a right/wrong investment all the time? When a investment decision is undertaken, fund managers/investment analysts take into consideration the outlook of present/future market conditions at that point in time.

    As we all know, market conditions change all the time (and at times, volatile as well). Only time (and investment horizon is important too) will tell if that investment is a good one or not.

    Sure, it's easy to comment on the success of an investment ex-post, but to pass judgement on it ex-ante is pretty much tough talk. I think if that individual is able to do this with great accuracy, he/she's going to make it really far in this field.

    In the real world, there are little "superstar" analysts who can beat the markets all the time, and this is at times, a fact that most don't want to recognize (unfortunately.) IMHO, Warren Buffett's a superstar in his own right - but he does admit his oversight at times, like missing out on the tech run entirely (ok, at least he didn't get burnt by the .com bubble).

    So in this case, does that mean that we shouldn't invest at all? To a certain extent, investments are like taking a gamble; on hoping that your market predictions are on track to what's happening in the real world. How much of a gamble one is willing to take depends on his risk appetite. If one is wanting to achieve superior risk-adjusted returns, he/she must be willing to accept more risk.

    I think to these SWFs, it's a tricky balance - on one hand, people are clamouring for higher returns on state reserves (i.e. CPF, etc), but on the other, investing in state funds are subject to more scrutiny, and therefore restricts their investment mandate. (GIC & Temasek have different mandates though).

    I beg to differ on your last point - investment research/analysis is indeed a art and science. Each analyst has the same set of information for analysis, but what differs from individual to individual is their interpretation/evaluation of the numbers, which is extremely subjective and absolutely critical for successful analysis. One man's meat can be another man's poison, and there are no hard and fast numbers for modelling.

    Hope I don't sound like I'm defending anyone here.
    I concur.

    There is always a gain and loose situation. You win some and you loose some. But at the end of the day, if you win more. You are considered a winner.

    GIC is run by professional, correct me if I am wrong, they know what they are doing and they had proven themselves.

    So do we want to kill the goose that lay the golden egg?

  18. #38

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    You have a Fund Manager.

    He lost 1 cent and made 2 cents.

    Do you make him accountable for the One cents loss or do we allow him to continue to invest?

  19. #39

    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Sarcasm-- the desperate last stand?
    The logic is simple.

    If you do not want anything, don't accept it.

    If you take it then you should not complaint!

    Which govt in the world give money to the population. Don't you think it is better to have the monies in their pocket instead.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Tharman says not govt's role to comment on GIC, Temasek investments

    Quote Originally Posted by Yappy View Post
    You have a Fund Manager.

    He lost 1 cent and made 2 cents.

    Do you make him accountable for the One cents loss or do we allow him to continue to invest?
    We should find another fund manager who can make one cent, and doesn't lose one cent.
    In the financial world, earnings volatility is undesirable, to be avoided.

    On another note, if we have a fun manager who refuses to discuss how many cents he makes or loses, we should not allow him to continue investing. In fact, we should sack him.

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