GIC Private Limited
Feature | GIC

Working at the Point of Impact

Cheryl Chiang has invested in a scholarship and a career with GIC, and her decision has paid handsome dividends.

Cheryl Chiang analyses publicly listed stocks on both a quantitative and qualitative basis as an Associate at GIC. She is a GIC scholar and holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from London School of Economics.

While money is not everything, financial security allows us to live stress-free lives and meet our needs with minimal or no debt. Taking the concept to a national level, a financially stable country has more to invest in nation-building and can support its citizens when the need arises, as we have seen in recent times.

For Singapore, the organisation that contributes significantly to our nation’s financial security is GIC.

GIC is one of three investment entities in Singapore that manage the Government’s reserves (with the other two being the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Temasek Holdings). GIC takes a long-term perspective, investing in a variety of instruments across the world.

Pivotal to GIC’s success is its people. For one, Investment Analysts like Cheryl Chiang bring novel ideas and break new frontiers in the world of investment, with the aim of keeping GIC ahead of the curve.

Cheryl is a recipient of the GIC scholarship, and she has been working for the organisation since 2020. We caught up with the 25-year-old, who gave us some insights on what it is like to work for one of the world’s leading sovereign wealth funds.

How did you discover your interest in investing?

My parents run a business and I have always been interested in how operational decisions are made, including incremental investments into the business, and launching new product lines. This curiosity extended to understanding how other businesses worked and eventually how people decide to invest their money across different asset classes. This also helped me decide to study Finance in university with the intention of pursuing a career in investing.

So with that, GIC would have naturally appealed to you.

Definitely. I was hoping to get the GIC scholarship since it offers a career in asset management. I was introduced to GIC when I was in junior college, when my class visited the GIC office for an introductory session on the company and its role in securing Singapore’s financial future.

Cheryl Chiang

Cheryl Chiang

Was there anything else that helped you make up your mind about joining GIC?

I spoke to seniors who were working within the company as well as others who work in asset management and realised that GIC has a good reputation globally. It is also known for having a good working culture and seniors who are very willing to teach younger team members.

On the back of the GIC scholarship, you went on to pursue Finance at the London School of Economics. How did you apply what you have learnt to your current work?

My education gave me a good understanding of basic market mechanisms and valuation methodologies. It also laid the foundation for me to adapt to different situations that I come across at work.

Speaking of work, tell us more about your roles and responsibilities.

My work requires me to understand companies well before we decide to invest in them. To do this, I conduct research on the industry and competitors to make sure that I understand the competitive dynamics of the industry well. I also analyse both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of companies. Some day-to-day tasks include building financial models, reading research reports, and speaking to financial analysts and company management. With the opportunity to analyse different companies from various industries, the job never gets boring.

“I can confidently say that I think GIC is one of the best places for someone to start their career. Even as a junior, I am given many opportunities and responsibilities.” Cheryl Chiang

How does your role contribute to GIC’s mission?

GIC’s mission is to preserve and enhance the international purchasing power of Singapore’s reserves by achieving good long-term returns above global inflation. To do this well, analysts and portfolio managers at GIC must make sound investment decisions. The in-depth analysis that I do for the companies that I cover helps us make investment decisions based on thorough research.

What is the work culture at your organisation?

I can confidently say that I think GIC is one of the best places for someone to start their career. Even as a junior, I am given many opportunities and responsibilities. For example, I get to lead meetings with sell-side analysts and company management. Seniors are also very willing to mentor juniors and it is easy to ask questions and learn from more experienced people in the team. I am encouraged to have my own views and bring my unique perspectives to the table.

What possibilities are there for people working at GIC?

One benefit of working within a large organisation like GIC is that there is a variety of different learning opportunities. We have departments covering most asset classes and the graduate programme allows you to rotate between them to learn from various groups of people.

In your opinion, what qualities are needed to excel in GIC?

You must work well within a team, be a self-starter and a quick learner, and have a passion for investing.

What would you say to convince someone to join your organisation?

If you are interested in a career in investments, this is one of the best places to start your career. You will constantly be challenged and will get the chance to learn extensively from seniors.