There are good reasons why the actual assets of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund companies are not declared. One is to hide the incompetence and the losses of GIC on a yearly basis, and the other to hide GIC’s insolvency.

In 2017, Reuters put an estimate of GIC’s total assets at US$344 billion (S$469 billion).

GIC combines and manages the following funds:
1) Existing CPF funds
2) Yearly CPF contribution funds
3) Existing national reserves
4) Yearly government profits i.e. land sales
5) Mandatory insurance funds i.e. MediShield Life, CareShield Life

The actual figures of these funds are all undisclosed, but through the gathering of several media reports and assumptions on population and yearly government budget, States Times Review is able to gather the following estimates:

CPF funds National Reserves (incl. yearly gov top up) MediFund, CareShield, ElderShield
(S$bn) Current Yearly Current Yearly Existing Yearly
Estimate 368 14 300 5 6 0.45
Est. total for 2018 693.45
Reported total 469
Shortfall 224.45

According to the CPF Board, there are S$368 billion in total accumulated amount as of March 2018. This published amount occupies 78% of the Reuters’ estimate of S$469 billion. Considering that the national reserves is estimated at S$300 billion, the GIC actually owes an estimated in S$224.45 billion.

In the past two decades, CPF have been making a number of delays to account holders. Withdrawal Age was increased from 55 to 65 years old, while the Minimum Sum was increased from S$80,000 to S$181,000 per person. New mandatory insurance schemes like MediShield Life and CareShield Life would convert these CPF savings into taxes for GIC, which would alleviate the 4% payable interests in the MediShield account.

Alex Tan
STR Editor