Temasek Holdings, the Singapore state owned investment company, has revealed today that it has lost $39 billion, or 31 percent of its holdings, in eight months last year.Temasek Holdings portfolio went down from SG$ 185 billion to SG$ 127 billion Singapore dollars ($85 billion) as of November 30.
The revelation comes just days after Temasek said Chief Executive Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore’s premier Lee Hsien Loong, steps down to be replaced by former BHP Billiton CEO Charles Goodyear.
The fund made a number of wrong moves under Ho Ching, including a $5 billion investment in brokerage Merrill Lynch in late 2007. And as you may know already, Merrill’s shares fell 78 percent in 2008 amid the global financial turmoil and it was bought by Bank of America Corp. on 1st Jan in a lifesaving deal.
Temasek Holdings also has large stakes in other financial companies such as Standard Chartered Plc, DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Barclays Plc. So it looks like Temasek financed a good chunk of the toxic mortgage securities in the US.
This is a learning for all of us. Warren Buffet invested $5bn in Goldman Sachs, and Temasek in ML. And the difference in the quality of decision making is clear.