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GIC reputation?

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GIC reputation?

Postby USExpatt » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 7:01 am

Hi there,

I'm currently an American working as a 1st year (going into 2nd yr) analyst at an investment bank in NYC. I just received an offer to join GIC's Professionals Programme as part of a transition to Singapore to be closer with family in other parts of Asia.

What's GIC's reputation, career advancement for non scholars, etc like? How does it compare to banking positions? It's quite a big paycut so I want to make sure I'm not making the wrong decision. Thanks.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 7:58 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government ... orporation

Similar to Temasek it seems to have something of a chequered set of results.

Can't say I've met or heard of anyone who works there...

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:28 am

If you are coming on a pay cut, then you are working for a local package, just like all the other Singaporeans and PR's that are working there.

And therein lies the rub. Unless you are making a strong salary, you'll eat up most of it just living here.

And secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, what do you plan for the future? GIC forever? Or are you planning on going back? If going back, how do you plan to get to your previous salary level?

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Postby USExpatt » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:10 pm

Thanks for the reply guys.

Yes it seems that I'm offered the same local package. I think GIC offers a lot of stability and opportunity for learning, but like you said I'm not sure if it would offer the type of lifestyle I'm looking to provide for myself/my future family. The paycut is huge, I'll be making 1/3 of what I'm making in the US now, although the hours are better. I'd also have to pay double taxation so the low tax incentive is irrelevant to me...

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:44 pm

USExpatt wrote:I'd also have to pay double taxation so the low tax incentive is irrelevant to me...


As an American, your first ~98K USD/year earned overseas in salary is tax exempt. See IRS Form 2555 and Instructions for said form for up to date info.

If your offer is enough that you'd have to pay US taxes (at least USD 98k/year) and you really make 3x that amount in the US, there is *no way* you'll be living a comparable lifestyle in Singapore. Singapore is drastically more expensive, only comparable to upscale Manhattan or San Francisco Bay area property/rent prices in the mid-to-high end.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 1:17 pm

A devil's advocate might ask why you'd want to intern/volunteer with an operation that has such a poor investment performance.

How would the return on GIC compare to having simply put the money into the SGX index?

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Postby Girl_Next_Door » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 2:36 pm

I am not sure which investment bank you are working in, but if it is one of the big names, have you investigate if it is possible for you to do a transfer to Asia or Singapore? I know JPM & Citibank are huge in Singapore and they support internal transfer, cross country/regions. If it is a smaller brand name, you can still investigate if they have an office in Singapore.

From what I heard, GIC pays pretty good bonuses (especially now more american banks are starting to have a CAP on their bonus payout), and depending on what you are doing, involves a lot of traveling.

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Postby USExpatt » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 8:08 pm

Thanks again for the insight guys. I work for a bulge bracket bank but not JPM & Citi, they do support transfers but it's done by business need rather than personal reasons.

The ideal situation for me is to find a private equity position in Singapore, but it's going to take time, and the reason I'm moving is to be closer to my significant other. I think like you said, GIC would provide a very stable path, but it won't provide the lifestyle I'm looking for

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Postby taxico » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 10:18 pm

do you have a great CV? if so (you need not be a singapore government scholar), you might just be the right kinda man to claw your way up the food chain. if you don't... well...

whatever the case, your bosses will make you fly back to the US for work whenever they feel like, you know right? some people don't like that.

my friends joined GIC/temasek companies because of the paycheck. nice benefits and career path too. they come across to me as go-getters and work as hard as heck to get the results they want. they also all went to top schools and are willing to keep studying (on the company's dime) WHILE pulling crazy work weeks and schedules.

i dare say if you don't fit into that/their culture, you might not have a very nice time. YMMV of course...
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Postby USExpatt » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:23 pm

taxico wrote:do you have a great CV? if so (you need not be a singapore government scholar), you might just be the right kinda man to claw your way up the food chain. if you don't... well...

whatever the case, your bosses will make you fly back to the US for work whenever they feel like, you know right? some people don't like that.

my friends joined GIC/temasek companies because of the paycheck. nice benefits and career path too. they come across to me as go-getters and work as hard as heck to get the results they want. they also all went to top schools and are willing to keep studying (on the company's dime) WHILE pulling crazy work weeks and schedules.

i dare say if you don't fit into that/their culture, you might not have a very nice time. YMMV of course...


Well I know that banking in Singapore also offers much better paychecks than GIC/Temasek, but with worse hours. I'm struggling because I also received an offer in the US for private equity paying ~300K USD, while GIC pays less than 1/3 of that. In terms of CV, I went to an Ivy in the states and am a very hard worker, so I don't think i'm worried about that aspect. I was just thinking it may be better to work in the US a bit longer before moving over.

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Postby taxico » Fri, 06 Jun 2014 1:02 am

USExpatt wrote:
taxico wrote:do you have a great CV? if so (you need not be a singapore government scholar), you might just be the right kinda man to claw your way up the food chain. if you don't... well...

whatever the case, your bosses will make you fly back to the US for work whenever they feel like, you know right? some people don't like that.

my friends joined GIC/temasek companies because of the paycheck. nice benefits and career path too. they come across to me as go-getters and work as hard as heck to get the results they want. they also all went to top schools and are willing to keep studying (on the company's dime) WHILE pulling crazy work weeks and schedules.

i dare say if you don't fit into that/their culture, you might not have a very nice time. YMMV of course...


Well I know that banking in Singapore also offers much better paychecks than GIC/Temasek, but with worse hours. I'm struggling because I also received an offer in the US for private equity paying ~300K USD, while GIC pays less than 1/3 of that. In terms of CV, I went to an Ivy in the states and am a very hard worker, so I don't think i'm worried about that aspect. I was just thinking it may be better to work in the US a bit longer before moving over.


i missed out the bit where you said you were going on your second year... am i alone in thinking that you should stay in NY coz it's better for your career?
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Postby USExpatt » Fri, 06 Jun 2014 1:25 am

taxico wrote:
USExpatt wrote:
taxico wrote:do you have a great CV? if so (you need not be a singapore government scholar), you might just be the right kinda man to claw your way up the food chain. if you don't... well...

whatever the case, your bosses will make you fly back to the US for work whenever they feel like, you know right? some people don't like that.

my friends joined GIC/temasek companies because of the paycheck. nice benefits and career path too. they come across to me as go-getters and work as hard as heck to get the results they want. they also all went to top schools and are willing to keep studying (on the company's dime) WHILE pulling crazy work weeks and schedules.

i dare say if you don't fit into that/their culture, you might not have a very nice time. YMMV of course...


Well I know that banking in Singapore also offers much better paychecks than GIC/Temasek, but with worse hours. I'm struggling because I also received an offer in the US for private equity paying ~300K USD, while GIC pays less than 1/3 of that. In terms of CV, I went to an Ivy in the states and am a very hard worker, so I don't think i'm worried about that aspect. I was just thinking it may be better to work in the US a bit longer before moving over.


i missed out the bit where you said you were going on your second year... am i alone in thinking that you should stay in NY coz it's better for your career?


well I think that's definitely true from a monetary standpoint if we were to evaluate the opportunities, which is why I was wondering about GIC's reputation. I believe I should stay in the states as well for at least 2 more years (1 more yr of banking+PE), then move over. That way I have a longer track record and higher earning potential to provide for my future family. With GIC, I think it would be a comfy option, but I'm just not sure if it's worth the immediate upside of being close to my significant other given my other options.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 06 Jun 2014 3:25 am

I think you are at a cross roads that will tend to be life defining for you.

On the one hand, you've got a $300K offer, with the potential to earn lots more, and clearly, you have some sense of what this life will be like for you... plenty of money, the best cars, the biggest house, all the cool toys... the Wall Street bad boy raking in the cash, the envy of many, the target of others.

An exaggeration perhaps, but where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15, 20 years if you go this route? Is that what you want life to be? You know the circles you will run in, the country clubs you will belong to, the people who will be your friends.

And yet, in spite of having a $300K offer, you are looking at GIC for a third of the amount. Is this simply wanderlust for a few years before you jump back into the mainstream? Or, are you looking for a life that offers something different from the "standard" private equity banker?

GIC looks like it might be an interesting opportunity if you have a desire to become internationalized, to develop a network that might lead you to places that you cannot yet foresee. I know a woman that started off simply enough and is now the advisor to the UN undersecretary of state for Asia... a job she loves.

My personality would lead me to the GIC job, just because it's different and to an extent, unpredictable, giving me possibilities in life that might not otherwise be available to me... not that I don't like money.

A S$100K package is sort of the minimum needed to get by in the lifestyle to which you may have been accustomed. With this amount, you can get a nice place, buy a cheap used car, and hit the bars on the weekend, with a bit of cash left over.

Summary: Where do you want to be down the road? Good luck.

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 06 Jun 2014 10:40 am

You’re a junior analyst on Wall Street: Yes, I can imagine just about anything else beckons like ‘sunlit verdant pastures’ from your current position.

The way I see your role, is that it’s akin to a boot-camp. You’re being broken in, and required to prove that you can deal with the most challenging aspects of what your career might ever throw at you. They figure that’s better than a few years down the line discovering you can’t deal with the occasional 80 or 100hr week. The process of basic military induction is not dissimilar, and for a similar purpose.

You’ve already demonstrated the required promise, that’s why you’re in your position. GIC are looking at you as ‘pre-picked and partially proven’, and they’re trying to pick you off on the cheap when they know you’re working so hard you’re probably questioning just about everything re: the ‘is it really worth it?’, i.e. your darkest hour.

Strong Eagle nails it. What were your goals, have they really changed? Is the absence of your other-half a point around which your woes are crystallising?

In my experience you get one shot at a Wall street career ladder. The careers tend to be pretty fast and furious, and the foundation can be important as a starting point. It might be something of a cliche but there was truth in the lyric ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere’.

If you get through your program, and continue with that employer then you are proven in the eyes of many. What I witnessed was that it is always an option to reach your personal peak, and then later as life requires (marriage, children, shorter work weeks etc), then subsequently take steps back down. But you can not expect to achieve the reverse, start via a cushier path, and still expect to get anywhere near the top. So if I were in your shoes, I’d tend to be hanging in there to get completed, considering what is going to make my lifestyle and choices in the future the best and simplest, as much as that might really stink right now.

I expect as you know in such a job, your life is arguably not your own (your ‘arse is owned’). If you seek a transfer now to Singapore, and you seem to be considering things that might be a real step-down or step-away from your potential trajectory, your career will probably always be limited by that one decision. What will your resume say about you, ‘The guy who gave up an IB-career-path [Basic Training] in NYC mid-way to move to a soft-option in an outfit most people have never heard of’.

You say yourself that GIC won’t provide the lifestyle you’re after, and fair enough. So how about trying to square the circle another way? If your ‘SO’ is significant enough, might it be possible to get them to spend more time with you in NYC?

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Postby Brah » Sat, 07 Jun 2014 10:14 am

There is also the aspect that this industry is not what it was, and most likely will never be again. I've read articles about how you get in you and make your big money early, then go on and do something else with the rest of your career.

So you either start that off on $100k or $300k.

Frankly, if you haven't been here to live and work, and you have a better offer in the States, you really need a very compelling reason to come here over that. I'm not so sure that you do.


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