Singapore's GIC will invest in more banks

The Government of Singapore Investment Corp may invest in more banks in Europe and the United States if it gets the chance, adding to its stakes in beleaguered bank UBS and Citigroup, its chairman said.

"If there are other banks of the quality of the two that we bought into, with the promise and the capabilities to recover, we have got the liquidity to meet it, to make such an investment," GIC Chairman Lee Kuan Yew told Bloomberg TV yesterday.

"We are buying something that we intend to keep for the next two to three decades," he said, adding that GIC was a long-term investor. Lee defended the investments saying GIC had bought very good franchises and brand names that would recover in time.

GIC measured its performance over five to 10 years, he said.

"Will there be another Swiss bank like UBS for wealth management? We doubt it, that is why we invested in it." Citigroup, he added, had "an enormous spread worldwide as a retail bank".