Mr Ng cited the global financial crisis, which struck in 2008 after Lehman Brothers collapsed. In 2007, GIC had decided to sell a large part of its equities, leaving it with cash in 2008. It then started buying more shares in 2009 as the market started to recover.

He added: "We made the decision to de-risk the portfolio at the time. We felt that the markets were priced to perfection and that it was risky to maintain the equity risk in our portfolio but when we reduced our position, the markets continued to go up."

GIC's portfolio by 2011 had also recovered all the losses suffered in the financial crisis. Mr Ng said: "If you were concerned about the short-term results, you wouldn't have the courage to do what is necessary for long-term value."

As to the question of how much detail to release about returns and investment strategies, Mr Ng is keen to distinguish between "transparency" and "accountability".

While many call for increased transparency, Mr Ng argues that what they are asking for, in substance, is accountability and that he feels is a valid request.

"It is reasonable for the Government to hold the GIC management accountable for its performance and the public to hold the Government and GIC accountable," he said.

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