GIC Private Limited
Features | Trade, Industry, Finance

Investing For
Singapore’s Future

GIC (previously known as Government of Singapore Investment Corporation) is a fund manager that manages most of the Government’s financial assets. It has a long investment horizon as it seeks to contribute to present and future generations of Singaporeans.

Singapore's striking edge is her infinite potential in spite of her lack of natural resources. In fact, it is rare amongst countries with no natural resources to have a sovereign wealth fund – let alone have investment returns from her reserves strengthen social security nets, R&D, education and the physical environment. GIC is tasked with generating good long-term returns on the reserves it manages so that Singapore can continue to invest in these areas.

GIC’s investments extend beyond asset classes – it takes great pride in investing in its people. One of the ways it exemplifies this is through the GIC Scholarship. We talk to two GIC scholars who tell us about the research efforts and investment decisions they make in order to contribute to Singapore.

Tell us about your roles and responsibilities at work.

Rachel Heng: I am currently an Assistant Vice President in the Private Equity & Infrastructure division in GIC’s London office. My team focuses on private equity funds and co-investments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. On an average day at work, we can be doing anything from visiting car factories in Germany to meeting with CEOs of large global companies.

The investment decisions we make have a very real impact on Singapore’s national reserves, something that everyone at GIC takes extremely seriously. The returns which we help generate contribute directly to funding part of the government budget, which is then channelled to improving Singaporeans' lives and supporting important sectors such as education and R&D.

Rachel Heng
GIC Scholar

Designation: Assistant Vice President

Studied: Bachelor of Arts in Comparative
Literature and Society, with secondv major in Economics,
Columbia University, US

"On an average day at work, we can be doing anything from visiting car factories in Germany to meeting with CEOs of large global companies."

Er Wenjun: As an Analyst within the research arm of the Fixed-Income Department, my teammates and I analyse and dissect data and information so as to formulate long-term views on global macroeconomic trends. The research output plays an integral role in the investment process – Portfolio Managers make use of our in-depth analysis and understanding to build conviction in investment ideas, with the ultimate aim of generating returns to preserve and enhance Singapore’s reserves. The strength of the nation’s reserve position has and will continue to support the growth and bolster the international standing of Singapore.

How did your scholarship support you as you pursued your university education, and how did the knowledge gained then prepare you for your roles today?

Rachel: GIC was incredibly open-minded about our academic pursuits, and had expressed the view that university was more about learning how to think critically and broadly. They supported my desire to major in Comparative Literature & Society, with a second major in Economics.

My degree programme at Columbia University, US challenged us to adopt a global perspective in the study of literature and culture, and their social context. It helped us understand how diverse ideas and cultures intersect, and to make connections between points of reference which may initially seem to be completely distinct. This is important especially when I make investment decisions today – investing is about seeing connections where others do not and taking a view on why something may not be as the consensus believes.

Wenjun: My fondness for subjects with a more quantitative and analytical nature led me to decide on the Electrical and Electronic Engineering programme. My extensive exposure to hands-on work during electrical and computer laboratory classes equipped me with technical knowledge, while my theoretical lessons provided me with through analytical training of the mind.

The rigour of my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees sharpened my analytical and problem-solving skills which are crucial to my day-to-day research work. Their quantitative nature equipped me with necessary technical and programming skills to handle any data manipulation effi ciently. Other invaluable soft skills acquired, such as through presentation techniques and teamwork, also provided me with a good grounding to take on the challenges of the working environment.

Tell us about the opportunities GIC Scholars are provided with.

Rachel: While at university, I did an internship with GIC’s External Managers Department, the team responsible for making investments in hedge funds. I worked on a research project on upcoming regulations in the sector and assisted in fund due diligence. The team also communicates regularly with all the different asset classes within GIC, so as to share market views and ideas. This stint greatly expanded my perspectives.

GIC places a lot of emphasis on training and development. After graduation, we enter the GIC Professionals Programme, a combination of rigorous classroom training and several rotations across different groups. I spent time with teams in Real Estate, Treasury and Currency Management, Private Equity and Risk Management. This experience allowed me to gain a much better understanding of how GIC works together as one global organisation, and also helped me build my network. After joining Private Equity and Infrastructure, I have also participated in training courses in New York and London, as well as attended industry conferences in Berlin, Geneva and Vienna.

Er Wenjun
GIC Scholar

Designation: Associate

Studied: Master of Finance,
Princeton University, US

Bachelor of Electrical and
Electronic Engineering,
Imperial College London, UK

Wenjun: As a participant of the GIC Professionals Programme, I had the opportunity to rotate across the various business arms of the organisation. During these stints with the different departments, I was able to gain a better insight into the diverse functions within GIC which spanned both public and private markets, as well as high-level asset allocation strategies. The experience gained through well-structured projects and the guidance provided by experienced mentors were invaluable in the course of deciding my preferred field of work.

GIC Scholars can leverage on a well-structured mix of vacation trainings, mentorship by seasoned in-house professionals, and other developmental courses and programmes that lay the important foundation for a successful career in the finance industry. Furthermore, GIC’s access to research resources, industry experts, and top-notch trainers provides an unparalleled learning experience for any aspiring young professional in the field of finance.

What advice do you have for aspiring GIC Scholars?

Rachel: Curiosity is the most important quality of a GIC scholar. If you are constantly interested in the world around you, asking questions and challenging assumptions (especially your own), then I believe you will do well in GIC. I also think it is incredibly important to remain humble and open-minded. You can always learn something from someone!

Wenjun: The passion for the field of work, the drive and self-motivation to succeed, and the ability to work effectively within a team setting are important attributes for success – not just at GIC, but for any industry or business. If finance is your cup of tea and you want to contribute meaningfully to Singapore’s future through the management of the nation’s reserves, then GIC is the place to be!