GIC names new heads of investment in reshuffle

The sovereign wealth fund has introduced new leadership at its three investment subsidiaries in a widely expected move, strengthening its reach into emerging markets.
GIC names new heads of investment in reshuffle

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC has unveiled a widely expected internal management reshuffle following the succession of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as chairman.

The government-owned fund, established 30 years ago to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves, has appointed new heads of its three key investment subsidiaries, effective from July 1.

All the new successors are well known and well placed, note sources. In the process, GIC has also sought to strengthen its reach into emerging markets.

The re-organisation was well broadcast internally and comes after Lee Kuan Yew retired as chairman and director of the GIC board at the start of last month to become senior adviser.

GIC named Lim Chow Kiat president of GIC Asset Management, one of the three subsidiaries that manages GIC’s investment portfolio and which deals in the public markets. The other two are GIC Real Estate and GIC Special Investments, the latter of which focuses on private equity.

Lim takes over from Quah Wee Ghee, who retired as president and will now chair GIC’s India business group. Lim has been GIC’s Europe president since September 2009, overseeing its investments and relationships in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The previous year Lim was appointed head of its fixed income, currencies and commodities department as well as deputy president of GIC Asset Management. He first joined the firm as a portfolio manager in 1993.

Lim’s position as Europe president was handed to Jeffrey Jaensubhakij (pictured left), the fund’s head of North American equities and total return equities. Jaensubhakij joined GIC in 1998 as senior economist to cover the US economy. He was given responsibility for asset allocation strategy, global economies and commodities, before joining the equities unit in 2002 and moving to New York.

Meanwhile, Tay Lim Hock takes over as president of GIC Special Investments, having been deputy president since last July. He takes the reins from Teh Kok Peng, who retires from the post and will now chair GIC’s China business group.

Tay (pictured right) joined GIC Special Investments in 1995 and worked on private equity deals in Asia. He worked in London as regional head of the European private equity team from 2000 to 2003 and has been based in the US as the regional head of the private equity team since then.

Completing the triumvirate, Goh Kok Huat was appointed president of GIC Real Estate, having previously been deputy president. He succeeds Seek Ngee Huat, who has retired from the position to chair GIC’s Latin America business group.

Goh (pictured left) was head of investment management for Asia in GIC Real Estate and was appointed its deputy president in July last year. He had joined GIC from Tishman Speyer in New York, where he was managing director of equity capital markets. Prior to that he was at the Ascendas Group.

In a statement, GIC deputy chairman and executive director Tony Tan said the priority was to ensure a smooth leadership transition of GIC’s three investment companies and at the same time strengthen its reach in emerging markets.

“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,” he says. “We do this without compromising ‘Chinese wall’ separations.”

The GIC has more than 1,000 staff globally and manages a total of $247.5 billion, making it the world’s eighth largest sovereign wealth fund, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

As of March 31 this year, the geographical distribution of GIC’s portfolio stood at 43% for the Americas, 30% for Europe, 24% for Asia and 3% for Australasia.

The Singapore government’s other sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings, manages about $145.3 billion and is the 10th largest globally.

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