NEW YORK – Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC has scaled back a core quantitative unit set up in 2016 under former Goldman Sachs Group banker Percy Wong, following a “tough” internal rethink of its investment teams and strategies.
The Systematic Investment Group (SIG), which had about 30 staff earlier in 2023, is being reorganised with some team members reassigned to different units while others are leaving to join external quant firms, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr Wong, who joined GIC in 2012, is also poised to leave, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. Mr Wong did not respond to requests seeking comment.
“The large majority of the existing team members will remain in GIC and continue to integrate quant skill sets into the business,” a GIC spokesman said in a statement. “We expect fewer than 10 members to leave.”
The SIG had underperformed some of its peers within GIC, said the people, without elaborating.
While some of the world’s best-known quant funds managed to deliver stellar performances during a challenging 2022 – raising the bar for similar strategies – the industry is having a more difficult 2023 even as global stocks rise.
GIC this week reported its worst annualised five-year returns since 2016, citing the slowing global economy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising inflation.
“Constantly evaluating each and every team is par for the course,” said chief executive officer Lim Chow Kiat, in an interview this week.
GIC has lots of partnerships with external managers because they are particularly good in some areas, he added. “If our expectation is that net of fees returns are going to be great, then of course we have to do so rather than build our own team.”
Quant hedge funds use detailed research, statistical modelling and maths to turn huge reams of data into investment ideas.
Firms that run these strategies have raised hundreds of billions of dollars around the world, despite some critics claiming the benefits are overstated.
The SIG was traditionally considered a core part of the fixed-income and multi-asset department, led by Fixed Income and Multi Asset chief investment officer Liew Tzu Mi.
GIC’s efforts to use data to invest started with a bang, hiring former Point72 Asset Management chief data scientist Michael Recce in 2016. Ms Fanesca Young – a quant expert from Los Angeles Capital Management – joined in 2017 and was head of global systematic equities.
But Mr Recce left the firm within months to join Neuberger Berman Group in New York, while Ms Young moved to Boston-based Acadian Asset Management in 2023, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Other efforts by GIC to drive cutting edge quant-related strategies and ideas included setting up a skunkworks called Kepler FI in 2017. The New York-based unit was wholly-owned but autonomous and supposed to create new investment methods.
Kepler eventually closed shop, with some executives leaving the firm while others were absorbed into teams including the SIG. By April 2023, Kepler’s corporate vehicles in New York and Singapore were formally shuttered, according to regulatory documents from both jurisdictions seen by Bloomberg News.
Tense diplomatic relations may not impact trade, investment ties between India, Canada: Experts
NEW DELHI: The tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada are unlikely to impact trade and investments between the two countries as economic ties are driven by commercial considerations, according to experts. Both India and Canada trade in complementary products and do not compete on similar products.
“Hence, the trade relationship will continue to grow and not be affected by day-to-day events,” Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava said.
Certain political developments have led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
On September 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.
India on Tuesday announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat hours after Canada asked an Indian official to leave that country, citing a “potential” Indian link to the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in June.
Srivastava said these recent events are unlikely to affect the deep-rooted people-to-people connections, trade, and economic ties between the two nations.
Bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown significantly in recent years, reaching USD 8.16 billion in 2022-23.
India’s exports (USD 4.1 billion) to Canada include pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, and machinery, while Canada’s exports to India (USD 4.06 billion) include pulses, timber, pulp and paper, and mining products.
On investments, he said that Canadian pension funds will continue investing in India on grounds of India’s large market and good return on money invested.
Canadian pension funds, by the end of 2022, had invested over USD 45 billion in India, making it the fourth-largest recipient of Canadian FDI in the world.
The top sectors for Canadian pension fund investment in India include infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, and financial services.
Mumbai-based exporter and Chairman of Technocraft Industries Sharad Kumar Saraf said the present frosty relations between India and Canada are certainly a cause for concern.
“However, the bilateral trade is entirely driven by commercial considerations. Political turmoil is of a temporary nature and should not be a reason to affect trade relations,” Saraf said.
He added that even with China, India has acrimonious relations but bilateral trade continues to remain healthy.
“In fact, bilateral trade is an effective tool to improve political relations. India must make special efforts to increase our bilateral trade with Canada,” Saraf said.
India and Canada have a strong education partnership. There are over 200 educational partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
In addition, over 3,19,000 Indian students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada, according to GTRI.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.
Indian students are the largest international student group in Canada, accounting for 20 per cent of all international students in 2021.
Benefits of educational partnerships are mutual and hence the current situation may have no impact on the relationship, Srivastava said.
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double India jobs and investment
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double its workforce and investment in India by next year, a company executive said on Sunday.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has rapidly expanded its presence in India by investing in manufacturing facilities in the south of the country as the company seeks to move away from China.
V Lee, Foxconn’s representative in India, in a LinkedIn post to mark Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday, said the company was “aiming for another doubling of employment, FDI (foreign direct investment), and business size in India” by this time next year.
He did not give more details.
Foxconn already has an iPhone factory employing 40,000 people in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In August, the state of Karnataka said the firm will invest US$600 million for two projects to make casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment.
The company’s Chairman Liu Young-way said in an earnings briefing last month that he sees a lot of potential in India, adding: “several billion dollars in investment is only a beginning”.
Taiwan election: Foxconn’s Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate
Last month, Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou said he would run for the Taiwanese presidency in next year’s election, as an independent candidate.
He said the ruling and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was unable to offer a bright future for the island and left Foxconn’s board following his decision to run.
The firm operates the world’s largest iPhone plant, in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province.
Foxconn to double workforce, investment in India by ‘this time next year’
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