Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC emerged as the most active state-owned investor in the world last year, outranking larger state funds from China, Norway and Japan, as other investors downshifted amid the volatility brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report by independent data and analysis platform Global SWF comparing the activities of 438 state-owned investors, GIC, the 10th-largest state fund worldwide, deployed US$17.7 billion into 65 deals – down slightly from US$24 billion in 2019.
James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, said the success of Singapore’s state-owned investors was evident, pointing to how net investment returns were the largest contributor to Singapore’s government revenues, overtaking corporate and personal income taxes, as well as the goods and services tax.
Tan added that the sectors of interest in the past year were all geared towards how governments could better respond to future pandemics. Covid-19, he said, has raised the issue of how to safeguard basic needs and capabilities, ranging from productivity to education to food and health care systems.
“Considering the mandate of sovereign wealth funds in general, which is to make long-term generational investments that secure the country’s financial future, it makes sense that these investments point towards innovation that secures the future in other ways as well,” he said.