As Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC’s job is to protect and add to the international purchasing power of the reserves under our management over the long term. We cannot and do not do this all by ourselves, but with the help of our many partners, including external fund managers, peer investors, investee companies, service providers and community organisations such as FCLTGlobal. They expand our investment universe, widen our perspectives, and provide competencies that we do not have.
GIC’s approach to partnership
It is essential to have a long-term mindset to partnerships rather than a transactional one, right from the start. Time and consistent experiences create trust between partners. For example, our enduring presence in developing markets through crises has enhanced our reputation as a committed global investor, giving us first calls on opportunities. Our long-term approach can be seen in the following ways:
Life-cycle collaboration – Our long investment horizon gives greater certainty to our partners to commit to ventures which may take time to see results. Our flexibility in deploying capital across private and public markets supports our partners’ capital needs through different phases of growth. This also extends to supporting, curating, and in some cases, launching new investment products such as long-hold private equity mandates. These efforts strengthen our partnerships, and also allow us early entry into new markets.
Reliable and responsive co-investor – Having a long history of co-investing with select external managers and direct investing capability positions us to respond to co-investment opportunities, especially across real estate, private equity, credit and infrastructure. Typically, our partners source attractive opportunities via their own networks, with us supporting part of the required capital through responsive due diligence, clarity of decisions, fair terms and additional research. In recent years, we have extended more co-investing invitations to our partners, thus expanding the opportunity set further.
Synergies through multi-faceted investment partnerships – We prefer to do more with long-time partners in size and dimensions. For example, we may have multiple asset-class exposures to the same external manager, while for investee companies, we can be their shareholder, bondholder, and even landlord or joint-venture partner. Such partnerships are often strengthened through varied collaborations involving the full benches of our organisations.
Constructive engagement – We engage partners in areas like digital disruption and sustainability which we expect will affect the longer-term prospects of assets and companies. For example, we support our investee companies in their transition towards long-term sustainability, and do this in a way that recognises the respective dynamics of the markets that they operate in, and not in a one-size-fits-all way. Last year we collaborated at the industry level, with 12 members of the AIGCC (Asia Investor Group on Climate Change) and launched the Asian Utilities Engagement Program to engage with utility companies in Asia.
Global-Asia connector – We are a useful partner to US- and European-based companies for their Asian ventures, and likewise for our Asian partners looking to other markets for expansion or business solutions. We do this via bilateral introductions and exclusive networking initiatives. For example, our annual flagship event, GIC Insights, brings together top business leaders to discuss relevant long-term issues. Our Silicon Valley-based Bridge Forum, a collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), has to date connected nearly 200 business leaders within GIC’s network and facilitated over 450 one-on-one meetings among innovative start-ups and Asia-based corporations.
Working well with like-minded partners by increasing our opportunity set and gaining new capabilities, has been critical to our growth. These partnerships show up in many ways, but what is central is the long-term approach we take. This approach builds trust and understanding, which in turn delivers enduring relationships and maximum mutual benefits.
This article originally appeared in FCLTGlobal’s 2022 Blue Book, a compilation of real-world examples of how FCLTGlobal’s members are putting long-term strategies into practice.