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Feature | GIC

Growing the Nation’s Assets

GIC’s Lee Zi Yang takes on the important role of securing Singapore’s financial future, and he is loving every second of it.

Lee Zi Yang assesses the Asian equity market in his role as an Associate at GIC. He is a GIC Scholar, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics from the University of Chicago.

Many of us know that, if done correctly, investing can be one of the best ways to grow your money. In the same vein, GIC invests across a range of asset classes in the public and private markets with the aim of securing Singapore’s financial future.

Over the years, Singapore’s reserves have shielded Singapore from the external financial crises and safeguarded the financial security of Singaporeans. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of the reserves, and GIC’s role as a fund manager for the Government in preserving and enhancing the long-term value of the reserves placed under its management.

One of the many individuals working towards the larger purpose of GIC is Lee Zi Yang, an Associate in Public Equities. The 27-year-old joined the organisation via the GIC Scholarship and his fulfilling tenure so far has allowed him to grow as a finance professional in more ways than one.

An Inquisitive Mind

More often than not, Zi Yang always let his curiosity get the better of him. He is compelled to find out how things work with one another and derives satisfaction from unravelling the processes involved. Interestingly, this is related to how financial instruments work as well.

Citing the example of using Google Pay at a supermarket, Zi Yang explained that many companies were involved in various parts of the value chain that collectively, turn an invested dollar into two.

“I enjoy seeing how everything comes together, and sometimes marvel at the ingenuity of some of these solutions,” he said, gleefully.

Zi Yang added: “I also like to learn about the broader themes affecting human society. Aside from financial knowledge, it is important to have a general understanding of what is going on in the world. Broad themes like trade tensions, ageing populations, and climate change affect our investments and it is important to learn about these themes as they develop, and think about their ramifications.”

As it seemed, his personal interest augured well with the world of financial investments, which was why his interest piqued when he was introduced to GIC at one of the tea sessions. He applied for the GIC Scholarship, accepted the offer, and has never looked back since.

On his decision to take on the scholarship, he explained: “Many factors played into my decision – the job sounded interesting, and the chance to study overseas was enticing!”

Buy Low, Sell High

Indeed, Zi Yang broadened his horizons while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics at the University of Chicago.

“Being away from home exposed me to the many different cultures out there, and helped me appreciate how someone’s mode of thinking can be shaped largely by the country and culture one grew up in.

“Also, being able to think in a global context is very important, especially in investing where companies tend to be big multinational firms, led by people from many different cultures.”

Zi Yang’s overseas stint had put him in good stead when he started work with GIC. He brought his knowledge and global mindset into his role as an Associate with Public Equities.

Zi Yang

Zi Yang fostered dogs when he was studying in Chicago. He is pictured here with Bowser, a mixed breed that he brought on a road trip just before graduation.

“I help to look at Asian stock markets and try to figure out what stocks to buy and sell. This involves talking to different companies and analysts, reading financial and research reports, and creating quantitative models to better understand the value of a company,” elaborated Zi Yang, on his role and responsibilities.

A Culture of Collaboration and Learning

An investment decision is often complex and GIC brings different expertise together to do that. Undoubtedly, this work culture at GIC is one that Zi Yang appreciates immensely.

“People are very focused on trying to make the right investment decisions, through in-depth research and continuous challenging of assumptions. There is a lot of emphasis on collaboration. Often each individual only sees a small part of the big picture. By aggregating the jigsaw pieces from the different corners of the financial markets, we get a better idea of what is happening.”

Also, as a junior in a company, he is grateful for the fact that GIC has a strong culture of learning and mentorship that allows him to grow holistically.

“There are countless possibilities at GIC.” Lee Zi Yang

He said: “Continuous learning happens every day and at every level. It is important to be around people who are supportive of your journey and leaders who inspire, and in a firm that provides many opportunities to develop yourself even outside of your core professional skillset. For instance, GIC has a dedicated team – called ‘GIC School’ – that arranges for lessons ranging from financial courses, to mental wellness, to professional development.”

For these reasons and the engaging work that GIC does, Zi Yang would wholeheartedly recommend his organisation to any prospective scholar who is keen to embark on a career in financial investment.

He advised: “There are countless possibilities at GIC. The financial market is very broad, and GIC is a big player in it. Naturally, there will be many opportunities here.”

Most definitely, a career with GIC is one worth investing in.