Singapore Wealth Fund: transparency is an optional extra

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The FT reports that:

Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation has promised greater disclosure about its activities, amid mounting concerns about the secretive fund’s influence after high-profile investments in UBS and Citigroup.

But, it noted that Tony Tan, deputy chairman of GIC and a former Singapore deputy prime minister, said:

Concerns in Europe and the United States were understandable and should be addressed [but] guidelines should be flexible, voluntary, and recognise that not all funds were the same.

Transparency is not an optional extra. To be of any benefit it has to be integral. This approach will not do.

Which is precisely why Singapore should play no part in advising the IMF, along with funds from Abu Dhabi and Norway on how to agree common standards for sovereign wealth funds. After all, these are the places with every interest in a lack of transparency. The rules must be made by those who need it. Why is that so hard to see?