GIC, Singapore’s $200bn sovereign wealth fund, appears set to target more investment in emerging markets.
In a recent report, GIC said it would establish a new office in Mumbai in the final quarter of this year. While the fund would only say that the new office will “represent GIC’s interests in all asset classes”, the office’s opening coincides with the release of figures that show the fund somewhat underinvested in emerging markets.
According to its report, only 10% of its equities are invested in emerging markets. Figures showed that its equity allocation rose from 38% in March 2009 to 51% in March 2010. Despite this increase, emerging market equities remained at 10% of the portfolio throughout that 12-month period.
More detailed figures on the geography of its overall portfolio showed that developed markets still make up nearly three quarters of its assets, and emerging markets remain largely on the fringe.
While the fund would not specifically say that the Mumbai office was part of a new investment strategy that would focus on emerging and frontier investments, the group’s chief investment officer, Ng Kok Song, confirmed that it was interested in more of these investments. He did not name specific countries, but there appeared to be an emphasis on Asian economies. It is probable that this means countries that have been generating significant interest in the past few years, such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
He said: “We expect high growth in emerging economies to continue… We will continue to increase our investments in the emerging economies, especially Asia.”
The group has publicised a few of its major investments in Asia, such as that of the Seoul Finance Centre, the China Industrial Bank and the China International Capital Corporation, but the vast majority of its holdings remain secret.
GIC’s head of communications, Jennifer Lewis, said that this was a competitive and strategic decision, and that it was not in the same position as Norway’s sovereign fund, which can reveal all of its investments.
She added that there were no plans for more offices and that the fund would wait to see how things played out in Mumbai before making any more plans.