GIC issued its annual report on Wednesday, and it had plenty of information – except for, of course, its one-year single return, and its assets under management (AuM), which continues to argue would be against Singapore’s national interest. However, Global SWF maintains a dynamic and proprietary model that singles out the returns and considers the inflows and outflows to determine its AuM annually.
In that context, we had the following reading of the annual reporting:
The nominal, rolling returns reported for 5, 10 and 20 years decreased significantly from last year. That means that the FY22/23 return must have been significantly lower than those FY17/18, FY12/13 and FY02/03, respectively. According to Global SWF’s proprietary model, we estimate that GIC’s single year nominal return between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, was -8.1%.
This result is worse than Temasek’s and that of any other fund closing the year at that date, primarily because of the weight of GIC in bonds and stocks, which had an awful year, and the 2% variation in the SGDUSD exchange. However, MAS reported a few weeks ago an extraordinary transfer of US$ 144 billion to GIC, which means that GIC’s AuM has been boosted to an estimated US$ 769 billion – despite an all-time high NIRC “dividend” of US$ 9 billion.
In terms of strategic asset allocation (again estimated, as it is not presented as actual allocation of all asset classes), GIC has reduced its weight in stocks and bonds (because of their loss in value), and increased its weight in real estate, infrastructure and, allegedly, hedge funds. Private credit is also indicated as an area of potential focus going forward.
The regional allocation indicates once again, GIC’s preference for Western, developed markets – North America and the Eurozone, as opposed to other SWFs that are trying to increase their portfolio in emerging markets. Japan and Asia in general are reduced 3% when compared to last year.
Unlike its Singapore’s peer Temasek, GIC does not reveal its levels of investment and divestments either, but according to Global SWF’s tracking activities – it remains as the most acquisitive Sovereign Investor on Earth, with US$ 40.3 billion invested in calendar year 2022.
This year, there is significant color shed on GIC’s portfolio of infrastructure investments, in terms of regions and sub-segments. According to our estimates, this portfolio would today stand for US$ 54 billion, and it is 71% located in developed markets (and 12% in Latin America). The asset class is not included yet as a standalone element in the policy portfolio, but everything seems to indicate that Singapore’s SWF will start putting much more focus onto it, including an increase in teams (only 3% of staff now).
Lastly, there has been a significant increase of personnel, from 1,900 to 2,100, due to the opening of a new office (Sydney) and the expansion of the existing ones. There were also some senior appointments, including the organization’s Deputy COO, the Deputy CIO for Real Estate, and the Director of the Economics and Investment Strategy, after the departure of Kevin Bong.
In its annual letter, GIC’s CEO Lim Chow Kiat sounds concerned about recent developments and disruptions, and very cautious about the future ahead. However, we believe GIC continues to be one of the most sophisticated investors out there, which has been adapting very well to each new reality. The results of the next reporting cycle should be much better as it benefits from the recovery of global financial markets. We will be watching.