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Singapore’s Founding Father Lee Kuan Yew Passes at 91

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Photo Credit: Prime Minster of Singapore's Office

Photo Credit: Prime Minster of Singapore’s Office

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first elected prime minister who served starting at the age of 35, passed away at 3:18 AM Singapore time on Monday. On February 5, 2015, elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew was hospitalized for severe pneumonia. Under Lee’s watch, he oversaw the modernization of Singapore from a tiny British outpost into a wealthy trade and financial powerhouse in Asia.

The Singapore Prime Minister’s Office posted, “The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore. Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 3.18am. He was 91.”

Lee Kuan Yew was active in the formation of Singapore and its eventual separation from Malaysia in 1965 – which he saw as a “moment of anguish”. Lee’s leadership dealt with the integration of a diverse population of Chinese, Malays and Indians. Fully aware that Singapore lacked natural resources and land, Lee sought to diversify Singapore’s economy. Today, the island country boasts international brands such as Singapore Airlines and DBS. Under his administration from 1959 to 1990, the sovereign wealth funds of Temasek Holdings and GIC were formed. He was the first Chairman of GIC’s inaugural board of directors. In 1990, Lee Kuan Yew was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong as Singapore Prime Minister.

GIC: Group President Lim Siong Guan released a statement in Singapore press:

“The GIC community is saddened by the passing of our Founding Chairman, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Lee had retired after 30 years of service in May 2011 and continued as Senior Advisor and Chairman of our International Advisory Board.

“Mr Lee’s contribution to GIC had been immense. In the three decades that he was Chairman, he guided GIC through many global and regional financial crises and saw to key milestones in its corporate development.

“In particular, GIC benefitted greatly from Mr Lee’s deep understanding of the complexities that undergirded global political, social and financial systems. His insights kept GIC grounded and focussed on the fundamentals when it came to investing for the long term.

“Despite his stature and busy schedule, Mr Lee always found time beyond Board meetings to engage GIC. It was a privilege to have him in our midst.”

Allianz Joins UK Student Housing Platform

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Since 2010, a rush of foreign capital has been plowed into the U.K. student housing market. On June 22, 2018, Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC and Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) sold an interest in their joint venture called Chapter to Allianz. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Turkish President Erdogan Wins Re-Election

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election, collecting 53% of the votes, while his closest rival Muharrem Ince generated a vote count of 31% – this is with 99% of the votes counted, according to Turkish state media Anadolu.

Erdogan gave a victory speech in Ankara, commenting, “The winner of this election is each and every individual among my 81 million citizens.”

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Will Sovereign Funds Capture Opportunity in Trump’s Space Force?

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U.S. President Donald Trump is keen on making a mark in the defense industry by launching a Space Force (joining – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard) – attempting to ensure American dominance in space. Morgan Stanley eyes a potential windfall, seeing a US$ 1 trillion economy brewing. Morgan Stanley released a note to clients commenting that a Space Force, “could address critical vulnerabilities in national security, raising investor awareness in the formation of what we see as the next trillion-dollar economy.”

Sovereign wealth funds and other asset owners are major financial backers of semiconductors, defense, and companies focused on satellites and rockets. According to SWFI data, since 2014, there has been an increase in direct sovereign wealth fund investment in the aerospace and defense industry. In 2017, sovereign funds directly invested US$ 4.76 billion in aerospace and defense.

On June 18th, President Trump said, “Very importantly, I’m here by directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That’s a big statement.”

Sovereign Wealth Investment

From a sovereign wealth fund perspective, many wealth funds are active in investing strategically in the aerospace and defense arena. Mubadala Investment Company has been active in aerospace investments such as Piaggio Aerospace SpA, while SoftBank Group has tremendous exposure to artificial intelligence companies and semiconductors. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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