Singaporean sovereign fund GIC has reshuffled its senior leadership, including appointing a new chief operating officer, deputy chief investment officer for the group and a new chief investment officer for real estate in a set of moves set to take effect on 1 April.
In the transition, Sam Kim will be elevated to COO from his current role as deputy COO and will join the institution’s group executive committee (GEC) – GIC’s highest management body. Bryan Yeo, currently CIO for public equities, will be appointed deputy group CIO and director of GIC’s Integrated Strategies Group (ISG).
GIC’s real estate team is also set to have new leadership with the division’s deputy CIO, Goh Chin Kiong, taking over the real estate CIO role from Lee Kok Sun, who is retiring.
“I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Lee for his commitment to GIC over the last 27 years including his time as CIO for real estate,” Lim Chow Kiat, GIC’s chief executive said in an announcement on Wednesday. “Our real estate portfolio is the global industry leader that it is today thanks to Mr. Lee’s vision, tenacity and dedication. We wish Mr. Lee all the best in his retirement.”
Broader Leadership Shuffle
Kim is taking over the COO role from Tay Lim Hock, as the more than 28 year veteran of the organisation, who also holds a deputy group CIO title, steps away from the senior executive positions.
Yeo is taking on the director of ISG portfolio and the deputy group CIO role from Lim Kee Chong, who is stepping down from the dual positions.
Both Tay and Lim will remain members of the GEC and global leadership group, and will continue to be involved in reviewing investments and enterprise-level initiatives.
The sovereign fund also appointed Boon Chin Hau as deputy CIO for infrastructure, and Mark Ong, currently head of Asia Pacific equities, will take over Yeo’s position as CIO for public equities.
“It is our privilege that both Mr. Tay and Mr. Lim will continue to contribute their expertise as members of our various leadership groups,” Lim Chow Kiat said. “With this refreshed leadership bench, I am confident that we can continue to pursue excellence in our operating and investment capabilities, and navigate the investment environment.”
Increasing Real Estate Allocation
The leadership changes come after the sovereign fund giant last year reported its weakest half-decade results since 2016, with annualised nominal returns for the five years ending March 2023 reaching just 3.7 percent, according to the institution’s annual report.
The fund’s performance on a 20-year annualised real rate of return basis – its preferred metric for its primary performance – rose to 4.6 percent for the 20 years ending March 2023, marking its highest level since 2015.
For 2023, GIC fell to second place among the world’s most active state-owned investors for the first time since 2017, losing the top spot to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) after deploying $19.9 billion in capital during the year – its lowest level of deployment since 2020.
GIC, which does not disclose the size of its investment holdings but is estimated to manage $769 billion in global assets, had 13 percent of its portfolio allocated to real estate as of March 2023, up from 8 percent two years prior.