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Sovereign Wealth FundsLegitimacy, Governance, and Global Power$
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Gordon L. Clark, Adam D. Dixon, and Ashby H.B. Monk

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142296

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142296.001.0001

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Insurer of Last Resort: Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation

Insurer of Last Resort: Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation

(p.86) 6 Insurer of Last Resort: Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation
Sovereign Wealth Funds

Gordon L. Clark

Adam D. Dixon

Ashby H. B. Monk

Princeton University Press

During the financial crisis, a number of East Asian sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) acted as insurers of last resort for their nation-states, underwriting financial stability and social welfare. This chapter explains how and why this role came to pass, arguing that it serves to sustain the legitimacy of the nation-state as well as justify the separation of SWF assets from the public interest in current consumption and spending. Focusing on the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), it suggests that the prospect of recurrent financial crises was an important prompt for its establishment in 1981, reinforced by the experience of many East Asian countries in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The chapter explains the formal constitution of the GIC, the mechanisms by which its reserves are returned to the government in crisis, and the role of different sections of the political elite in managing those assets. Referencing the principles of best-practice fund governance and the Santiago Principles underwriting the legitimacy of SWFs, it also considers the governance of the GIC, especially in regard to its investment processes.

Keywords:   sovereign wealth funds, financial crisis, East Asia, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, governance, investment, Asian financial crisis

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