In time for the future

We were set up in 1981 to preserve and enhance Singapore's foreign reserves for the future.

GIC was the brainchild of Dr Goh Keng Swee, then Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to invest Singapore's growing reserves for the future of the nation and the welfare of its people. Read more about the vision, creativity and drive that led to the founding of GIC.

Baptism of fire
We launched into hostile seas: an era of high US interest rates and sovereign debt crisis. But our board and management got the company in good shape in time to withstand the era of disinflation following October 1987’s Black Monday, when a 508-point fall in the Dow sent global stock markets into freefall.

That the company not only survived but actively capitalised on this baptism of fire testifies to the value of that initial investment of effort and expertise, as well as to our robust asset allocation policy, and the skills of our teams.

The ‘90’s: Toward an Asian future
Over the course of the 1990s, GIC began refocusing its attention away from the mature economies of the US and Europe, towards the increasingly dynamic emerging markets of Asia, to the point where they now account for about a fifth of our portfolio.

When the Asian Financial Crisis hit the region’s stock markets, currencies, property markets and banking systems, our diversified portfolio stood the test. And our confidence in the region's long-term growth potential remained firm.

Restructuring for the new millennium
In 2003, we refocused our investment process and governance framework to better capitalise on new global investment opportunities, and restructured to improve our responsiveness and sharpen our focus on organizational leadership and succession planning.

When the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 hit, a quick decision to sell down equities protected the portfolio, which has since returned to its normal profile, more than making up lost ground.

Preparing for the future
We continue to grow our investments in emerging economies, and have dedicated business groups to target opportunities in China, India and Latin America.

In 2012, GIC launched a holistic review of its investment approach. This was the second major review since GIC’s inception in 1981. The aim was to prepare the GIC portfolio to meet a more challenging and complex investment environment, so that GIC could continue to earn good long-term real returns.

The new investment framework was implemented on 1 April 2013. Taken as a whole, it capitalises on GIC’s core strengths: the ability to take a long-term investment perspective; a global presence; capabilities to invest in cross-asset opportunities; a skilled and experienced team; and a governance structure that distinguishes clearly the responsibilities of the GIC Board and management. It also enables GIC to be more responsive to the changing investment environment after the global financial crisis. The new framework is described in the feature article “GIC’s New Investment Framework”.

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Not only survived but actively capitalised