Singapore—In Parliament on Wednesday, May 8, Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong chose not to reveal the total annual pay of the highest paid executives of sovereign wealth fund GIC and state-owned investor Temasek Holdings, claiming the Government has no say in the firms’ operational choices.
He also described the relationship between the Government and GIC and Temasek as an “arms-length relationship.”
But he did say that the Government considers the boards of the two firms accountable for the performances of their top management.
Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) Png Eng had asked Mr Wong if there was a limit to the total yearly remuneration of the three executives who have received the highest salaries in the last five years for both GIC and Temasek.
The county’s Second Finance Minister is a member of GIC’s board of directors, as well as the Minister for National Development.
The WP MP had inquired about the range of the total yearly remuneration for these executives, which does not only include the salary, but also their annual and performance bonuses.
Mr Wong answered him by saying that the total yearly remuneration is calculated based on performance and industry benchmarks, as well as supports a “prudent risk-taking culture”, TODAY Online reports.
Part of the remuneration that GIC and Temasek give also considers long-term performance.
However, Mr Png still asked to see actual numbers, saying, “These two entities are managing our reserves, and the Government is the sole shareholder. Usually, shareholders would know the remuneration packages for the companies they own.”
But Mr Wong continued to decline to disclose any numbers, merely assuring Mr Png about measures already employed in both companies that determine compensation, and the performance of the companies in the past is proof that this system is functioning.
He said that it does not concentrate on “one or two expense items” such as remuneration, but is made up of a “thorough assessment” that would determine long-term expected returns. This is then proposed to the country’s president, who, aided by advisers, performs an independent evaluation.
According to the Second Finance Minister, “Ultimately, the Government evaluates the performance of the two entities based on their long-term returns, net of all expenses incurred.”
The companies’ annual reports contain these returns. TODAY adds that for Temasek Holdings, salaries of executives are not disclosed in the company’s annual report. However, a part of its website contains the company’s compensation framework, “which is benchmarked against relevant markets and includes incentives and clawbacks based on performance.”/TISG