SDP repeatedly warned about the UBS investment

The recent announcement that the GIC stood to lose in excess of $5.6 billion comes as no surprise. The Swiss bank had been plagued with problems and the SDP had warned on at least five separate occasions against the GIC investing in it.

1. As early as 2009, the SDP warned:

“Either Dr Tony Tan (who was the GIC’s executive director then) knew about the developments and problems that UBS was facing and chose to ignore them, or he had no clue that trouble was brewing in and around the bank. Which is worse?” (link)

2. We repeated the warning one month later:

“The GIC put in US$10 billion into UBS which later announced a US$19 billion write-down. UBS admitted to helping to defraud the US Government and was made to pay substantial amounts in fines. Is this how our best and brightest in the Government practice due diligence?” (link)

3. Dr Chee Soon Juan cautioned a third time that year:

“The latest revelation is that Citi, UBS, Merrill and Barclays had all invested in the Bernie Madoff scam. Mr Madoff ran the biggest Ponzi scheme in corporate history and duped his investors to part with nearly US$50 billion of their money. In fact UBS is being sued in France by a wealth management company for its involvement in the Madoff madness.” (link)

4. When UBS got into further financial trouble in 2010, the SDP again sounded the alarm:

“But instead of learning from its mistakes, Mr Ng Kok Song (then GIC’s Chief Investment Officer) doubled down and said in 2009 he that he still had ‘confidence’ in the ‘long-term prospects’ of the investment. This confidence seems quite misguided.” (link)

5. In 2011 during the Presidential Election, we raised the matter yet again:

“Either (candidate) Dr Tony Tan knew about the developments and problems that UBS was facing and chose to proceed by putting money into it anyway, or he had no clue that trouble was brewing in and around the bank. Whichever it is, the incident does not back up Dr Tan’s boast that he is the experienced guardian with the ability to, in his words, see ‘the dark clouds over the horizon coming on.’” (link)

These warnings, however, fell on deaf ears as the GIC continued to pour money into the troubled bank only to belatedly cut its losses 10 years later.

The recklessness and incompetence of this government has resulted in a massive loss of billions of dollars of the people’s money. As Chairman of the GIC, PM Lee Hsien Loong cannot remain silent on this matter.

A public inquiry is wholly appropriate and necessary at this juncture.

 

Singapore Democrats

 

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18 Responses to “SDP repeatedly warned about the UBS investment”

  • I am Tony Tan Jiak Liao Bee:

    And this dud Tony Tan is still sitting pretty in the Istana collecting his cool millions of tax money, and he is supposed to be trusted to look after the nation’s reserves.
    What a bungling idiot we have in this PAPIGS govt.
    Giving out peanuts to our own old folks and the poor , and here we are seeing these parasites throwing away Billion $$$$$ and saying it’s justified.
    WTF !!!

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  • Bapak:

    At the end it is SG citizens lose, blame the people who keep voting them.

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  • I was incredulous:

    I recall Tony Tan saying then that UBS has an asset in network that was irreplicable when he made that massive (mad) decision within such a short notice to insanely pump in those massive billions under such uncertain and volatile circumstances and was incredulous.

    Businesses even at that time did not need to use the services or the presence of any physical bank (or banking network). I could see and foresaw that the Internet was fast eroding any fixed physical presence or network advantages any banking (or any industry) behemoth might have.

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  • I was incredulous:

    I actually saw a vast physical network as a liability.

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  • Amos: 1 PAP: 0:

    Want to hold PAP accountable? There is only one way. REGIME CHANGE. VTO.

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  • gone with the wind:

    the ‘people’ responsible should step down.
    commit hara kiri better still.
    so many sgs are suffering from their failed or lopsided policies, yet they can so cooly gamble with millions of our cpf monies and then act as tho nothing has happened.
    Roy Ngerng saw something not right with the cpf workings. he wrote about it n spoke up. resulted in his losing his job and then he got ‘fixed’.
    but these ‘people’ are the untouchables. they will walk free or fly off to their many luxury homes if trouble rises.
    its us poor daft peasants who will have to suffer the consequences.
    how to respect such leaders of our country, huh? u tell me!
    they have been an embarrassment to us sgs for some time now…

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  • Bad investment:

    UBS was a bad investment…

    Have to be more careful with other people hard earned money…

    May have been better to use it on our elderly poor…

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  • Python 5:

    that UBS loss, how do we know if they really incurred a loss in the investment??

    under the table, it could have been transferred to their own personal private swiss bank accounts at the time the money was pumped in the investment. and then several years after, simply announced that it was a bad investment.

    after all, how many of us are familiar with swiss banking laws and banking secrecy???
    how many of us have access to GIC or TH financial records?

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  • flabbergasted:

    Why is Government Investment Corporation (GIC) suddenly changed to GIC Pte Ltd?

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  • LIONS:

    Well,HARD TRUTH be told that these WA$TRELS are NUMB to losing BIG MONEY as the accomplice gahmen condone them n MAKE COMMON sgs COVER FOR THE LOSSES. All the time!

    So you see,these HO JINX N GIC got “TALENTS” meh ?

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  • Wonderfools:

    Really wonderfool track record.

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  • PAP Is Root Of All Evils:

    gone with the wind:
    the ‘people’ responsible should step down.
    commit hara kiri better still.
    so many sgs are suffering from their failed or lopsided policies, yet they can so cooly gamble with millions of our cpf monies and then act as tho nothing has happened.
    Roy Ngerng saw something not right with the cpf workings. he wrote about it n spoke up. resulted in his losing his job and then he got ‘fixed’.
    but these ‘people’ are the untouchables. they will walk free or fly off to their many luxury homes if trouble rises.
    its us poor daft peasants who will have to suffer the consequences.
    how to respect such leaders of our country, huh? u tell me!
    they have been an embarrassment to us sgs for some time now…

    Talk is cheap. Cheats have thick skins. You want reverse the decline kick them out.

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  • oxygen:

    I JUST FIND IT AMAZING that the evergreen apprentices investing our CPF savings are NEARLY COMPLETELY BLIND to this happening. In the 1970s and 1980s, it is which bank opening up how many branches to saturate market reach to consumers/customers that wins all the sources of funds and business opportunities. Even foreign banks rushed in to open branch or offshore banking offices in Shenton Way.

    BY THE 1990s, it has LONG STOPPED.

    I was incredulous: I actually saw a vast physical network as a liability.

    Branches are EXPENSIVE and generate low return on capital invested. And foreign branches are tightly restricted by sovereign governments – THAT RESTRICTION ALSO APPLIED TO UBS and any other banks in foreign jurisdiction.

    SO WHAT POTENTIAL EXISTS TO GROW UBS in the SAME RESTRICTED competitive field as global banking?

    It is POPPYCOCK AT BEST and at worst HALLUCINATION of growth opportunities.

    Since the GFC onset, global banking has SHRANK their network. Most EU global banks shut down their global network operations and downsizing for years UNINTERRUPTED.

    THE QUESTION IS – WHY IT TOOK SO LONG FOR GIC TO COME TO THE OBVIOUS CONCLUSION THAT GLOBAL BANKING NETWORK IS A LIABILITY, NOT AN ASSET in banking competition in the changed economic landscape?

    Or was the delayed reaction to sell off UBS held back for face-saving for dumb decisions taken a decade ago by genuinely evergreen investing apprentices staking out a BIG LOTTERY GAMBLE in reality of an imagined 30 years wait?

    I leave it to TRE readers to form their own conclusion!

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  • Ann:

    Don blame me i got only

    35 marks result in election.

    Is a failing mark.

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  • 惶马后炮:

    典型的马后炮。

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  • oxygen:

    @ Ann

    PAPpy & GIC are the ONLY REAL FAILURES in this debacle. Why? Very simple, I shall explain below.

    Ann: Don blame me i got only
    35 marks result in election.
    Is a failing mark.

    Here is some headline reads (if you google ÜBS + Downsizing)

    Swiss bank UBS plans massive layoffs of 10,000

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2012/10/30/swiss-bank-layoffs/1667979/

    Now that was in October 2012 – nearly 5 years ago.

    And it came after UBS warned in September – same year

    UBS restructuring to take three years

    https://www.ft.com/content/0742914c-211f-11e2-babb-00144feabdc0

    WITH LARGE JOB LOSES IN LONDON, STAMFORD ( its US hub) and even ZURICH (its home base)

    and as late at 2016, the RETRENCHMENT CONTINUES unabated geographically. UBS is shrinking from the Asian presence.

    http://news.efinancialcareers.com/sg-en/245478/ubs-is-firing-senior-bankers-in-asia-it-may-live-to-regret-this/

    THE BLEEDING AND THE FIRING CONTINUES….unabated

    HOW COME THE PAPpys finance whiz kids in the House of MOST EXPENSIVE DECORATIONS AND DECISION-MAKERS in GIC STILL SEEMINGLY UNAWARE that UBS is a write-off of its banking future – globally.

    PAST TENSE was still sitting on the Board of Directors in UBS then?

    And only now GIC came up to “cough blood” admitting that its huge hasty gambling on UBS (and most likely all its investments in bank stocks globally) is a MONUMENTAL DEBACLE of failure?

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  • LIONS:

    The way i see it,the DAFT PAP is IMMUNED TO LOSING $$$ or Squandering as they are addicted to COLLECTING MORE MONEY.
    They are just a stupid lot!
    The people who vote for them are even more stupid lah.

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  • Can't remember:

    Maybe should make a police report or better still a magistrate’s order so that the matter can be investigated! Such people should go behind Bars!

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