Hsien Loong has announced that GIC had cut its long term investment in UBS by 2.4% and taking a hit of $6-$7 billion according to some estimate. Some put this sum to be $8b! GIC is still holding on to 2.7% of its shares in UBS which means a paper loss of more than $7 billion giving a total staggering loss of about $14b!
When such numbers are rolled out, many could not imagine or feel the impact of such losses. They are just numbers. In fact many big fund managers playing with OPM are too immune and desensitized to losing such big money. It is other people’s money after all, no sweat, no responsibility, own pocket not hurt.
How much is $14 billion? The cost of paying our political office holders is reported to be about $53m a year. Let’s put these numbers into persperctive. $ 14b is $14,000,000,000, 10 zeros behind the 14. $53m is $53,000,000, with 6 zeros behind the 53. The sum of $14b literally can pay the political office holders for 300 years or till 2317!
This is how much we have lost, just on one bank alone. This is not a plate of char kway teow or even several peanuts. This is big money being lost. How much did WP’s town council lost? Or did they actually lose any money at all? Or how much the other town councils lost during the lemon bond crisis?
Take a deep breath and get a feel of the scale of this loss. We spent $32.b for 4 submarines, or one sub costs less than $1b. We could have 14 subs for free by not investing in UBS.