Dec 2, 2007

You Give Your Money To Your Town Council So That It Can Play The Stock Market

ST Dec 2, 2007
New rule to safeguard council funds
By Tan Hui Yee & Mavis Toh


TOWN councils tempted to play the stock market to increase the returns on their sinking funds will now have to meet a new rule that caps how much they can put into higher-risk investments.

Councils, which have had some leeway when investing their cash, must limit their investments in non-government stocks, funds or securities to 35 per cent of the sinking fund.

This new rule, which kicked in yesterday, applies to more than $1 billion in sinking funds managed by the 16 town councils in Singapore.

The money is collected through monthly service and conservancy charges and government grants and is used for cyclical repairs, such as re-painting or re-roofing.

The Ministry of National Development brought the rule in to strike a balance between councils trying to get good returns on their funds and not taking undue risks with residents' money.

Some council cash has been going into shares and corporate bonds, which are considered riskier than government ones.

The president of the Society of Financial Service Professionals Leong Sze Hian said: 'Corporate bonds are only as good as the company can pay. The risk of a company running out of money is higher than that of the Government.'

Before the new rule, council investments were governed by the Trustees Act, which placed restrictions on some instruments. The new 35 per cent cap is seen as stricter, but no council contacted by The Sunday Times said it would have trouble complying.

The Hong Kah Town Council has about $150 million in its sinking fund, with one-third invested in government bonds returning 2 to 3 per cent. Another third is in short-term fixed deposits with returns of 1.5 to 3 per cent, with the rest handled by fund managers.

The investments can include corporate bonds and stocks, which are riskier. But this portion, handled by fund managers, nets about 8 to 10 per cent in returns a year, said council chairman Ang Mong Seng.

Sinking funds are typically parked in safe investment instruments, such as government bonds and fixed deposits. But a few years ago, many councils felt that they could do better by investing in other instruments, such as shares.

Many then let fund managers invest a bigger portion of their cash and reap better returns.

Something has gone seriously wrong somewhere.

Remember why we pay service and conservancy charges to our town councils every month? So that they can provide public services in our constituencies.

You know, things like getting cleaners to sweep your HDB block; planting trees around your neighbourhood; building a few sheltered walkways; upgrading the children's playground; and renovating the public toilets in your town centre.

Obviously, we have been paying too much.

Why else would the town councils be sitting on more than $1,000,000,000 in excess cash!

And now we see what their big concerns are. Things like how to invest all that money; how much should they dabble in the stock market; how much should be used to purchase bonds; how much should be placed in fixed deposits.

It's as if the town council were a fund manager or a unit trust. Except that you as customer are never going to get a cent back.

They took your cash, and used some of it to maintain the physical facilities of your neighbourhood ... and the rest of your money is for the town council to go and play with, according to their own rules!

And you still have to pay them. Every month.

54 comments:

yamizi said...

...and they can only provide allowance enough for 2 meals a day for those really need help...?

*shrugs*

Anonymous said...

I said that NKF was the tip of the iceberg called Singapore Inc. It's not just about mega 'charities'.

Slowly but surely the chickens are coming to roost.

Another thing: I noticed they stopped hiring technicians to do routine checks and maintenance on HDB lifts - at least at my block and nearby blocks. Last time you would find a signed certificate displayed prominently at the top, usually beside/below the 'Fujitec' logo.

Now, in the cert's place is a notice that 'the town council will do its own checks from Date:XX/XX/XX'.

I see two possibilities:

1) Town council is saving money to recoup losses from playing some fancy investment game.

2) Town council is saving money to generate more funds to play some fancy investment game.

So the next time you learn about lift cables snapping, stalling lifts, lift doors broken... remember you know the true reason from this very post , in this very blog, on this very day.

Anonymous said...

My Gosh... What's happening to Singapore?

On one hand, we have our low income folk barely staying afloat. Surviving on $200/month handouts (which is truly peanuts)...

http://www.asiaone.com/News/The%2BStraits%2BTimes/Story/A1Story20071202-39209.html

And on the other hand, the town councils have $1billion sitting in sinking funds?!?!?

And then we have Temasek losing billions of dollars of the all tax payer's hard earned money...

This is just a ticking time bomb.

Anonymous said...

I read in a blog recently that in Creative Technology’s latest Annual Report, Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council is listed as one of the majority shareholders with 530,000 shares currently valued at about S$3 million. And this is a share that is losing value for years. Don't know whose idea to invest in it.
Are these the tip of the ice-berg? And if they lose big, anybody knows? And is this latest ruling a response to something that happened?

Anonymous said...

The excessive surplus in Town Council funds is an indication of how the Spore govt conspire to bleed the poor people dry! COE, ERP, GST, utilities - they are all bleeding systems. HDB upgrading is another con game where HDB dwellers actually pay 100% of upgrading cost although HDB claims that it subsidize the upgrading. If so, why do they still have so much money!
The change in investment policy for Town Council funds is not a good omen. Why? It could lead to Town Council funds being used to bail out bad investments by GIC or Temasek. Spore has hidden too many skeletons in the closet - since life in Spore gets harder - it is a sure sign that the govt need to collect more to stem the bleeding.

Anonymous said...

Quite some time = after some bloggers highlighted it?

http://www.todayonline.com/articles/225116.asp

MP Inderjit Singh, the vice-chairman of the Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang Town Council, told Today it was "not a sudden decision" as the MND had been monitoring the situation "for quite some time".

blacktag said...

What a coincidence.

From the New York Times today.

"Norwegian towns that lost millions in bad investments fear that they will have to cut local services."

Anonymous said...

This is what I call the "NKF syndrome". Lots and lots of unused reserves and "agents/middlemen" profiting through investing and managing these funds. The whole Singapore Inc operates this way. That is why when an ex-president wanted to audit it, he was basically shown the door and told it will take over 50 years to sort the whole thing out. When will Singaporeans wake up to the con?

coder said...

Town councils investing in stock market
by mrbiao (this lush garden within)
Link - click here

The news could mean that it is using the number to dispense any rumours of the government not having enough money.

If you ever notice, no minister from the government clearly said that we have lots of money in the banks. They just use other vehicles to highlight that they have money. Money to build this and that. Money to subsidise programs here and there. Money to buy this and that.

But, never said that money is really really in the banks.

James Chia said...

Everything is geared towards earning money. They collect S&C fees from us. They invest in unit trusts. They gain we lose. What's the point of having so much money in the sinking funds? Looks nice on the balance sheet but on the ground, it's cockroaches everywhere. Looks like we've got a reason to fight for a S&C fee reduction during recession.

Anyway, if they are really into earning big bucks, may as well get themselves listed as "Towners International" and get into real business of managing towns worldwide.

Anonymous said...

& the town councils have the cheek to impose fines on poor families who are not able to pay the monthly charges?? & what about the money to pay for lift upgrading??

what's going on in Singapore???

le radical galoisien said...

Does the Constitution outline the role of local governments -- if one can call a Town Council a local form of government?

coder said...

Using Sembawang Town Council as an example.

Link to their Annual Reports

Sembawang Town Council Financial Report 04/05 (Page 40 - 44)
The report is for the financial year ended 31 March 2005. Refer to point 10 for sinking funds.

In one item called "Less: Expenditure (inclusive of allowance for diminution in value of funds with fund managers), the amount is S$22,009,984.

When written in this way, it does not tell us the actual amount for money paid to the fund managers. I know that in the financial world, people like to use big words to cloud the simple things. Reduction means reduction, do not beat around the bush.

As for the phrase "diminution in value of funds", just to highlight the word "diminution", it means:

a. The act or process of diminishing; a lessening or reduction.
b. The resulting reduction; decrease.

Sembawang Town Council Financial Report 05/06 (Page 45-62)

Item 12 (b) Expenditure.
Provision for diminution in value of held-to-maturity financial assets is S$407,082.

Item 16 - Cash and cash equivalents
Sinking Fund
Cash and deposits held in trust by fund managers is S$14,165,676 (that is about S$14 million).

No wonder that they can talk about S$1 billion. There are many town council annal reports around, I think that people should try to read through them with a fine tooth comb.

HH said...

This make me puke!

Kaffein said...

Question I want to ask:
1. Who benefits from the excess funds and also the profits collected from the investments?

2. Should not any excess (this applies to government also) from tax, GST, town council funds, etc be channeled back to the public?

Everyday I find new, disconcerting light about the policies. And many of them don't make much sense to me.

Anonymous said...

With $1 billion in sinking funds you should not be surprised that they are starting to behave like Temasek Holdings. I believe no questions will also be asked about losses that may arise, Temasek style.

Well, it will be interesting to see what reasons they will advance for the next increase in service and conservancy charges now that we know there is so much money sitting idle for people to play around.

coder said...

Time for another case study, this time we look at Aljunied Town Council Annual Report 2005/2006 for the financial year ended 31 March 2006
Link to report in PDF (3MB)

***
Partial listing from the BALANCE SHEET section (page 13) - under the 2005/2006 column:

• HELD FOR TRADING INVESTMENTS = (no value)

• HELD-TO-MATURITY INVESTMENTS = S$5,499,712

***
Partial listing from the INCOME AND EXPENDITURE STATEMENT section (page 14) - under the 2005/2006 column:

Non-operating Income
• Investment income = $631,402

***
Partial listing from the CASH FLOW STATEMENT section (page 16) - under the 2005/2006 column:

INVESTING ACTIVITIES
• Purchase of fixed assets = (S$77,656)*
• Proceeds from disposal of fixed assets = S$100
• Proceeds from sale of held-to-maturity investments = S$17,000,000
• Interest and investment income received = S$5,378,605

• Net cash from investing activities = S$22,301,049

*Figure in brackets means it is a deficit.

I am not an accountant. But, on page 37 titled "NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS", there is Item 26 (RECLASSIFICATION AND COMPARATIVE FIGURES) talked about Town Council's adoption of Financial Reporting Standards (FRS). This item discusses specifically about reclassifications of investments and sinking funds. Highlighting this reclassification seems to be an important issue.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the new ruling came out after the recent equity market correction because some town councils suffered significant losses?

I hope none of the town council invested in CDOs or other structured credit stuff...

With a multi billion dollars under their care, treasurers at these town councils will probbaly get invited to extravagant lunches by the investment sales people from banks or receive expensive gifts for their "business support"

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang - I'm disappointed. You're a financial professional. What do you expect Town Councils to do with their sinking funds ? Leave it in FD at negative real interest rates ? Then you would have complained that they were shrinking your money instead of growng it.

Unless your real beef is having a sinking fund in the first place. Are you willing to take that position ?

Anonymous said...

Did I hear from the esteemed PM Lee that 7% GST is to help the poor?

How come the town council is hogging so much money for the sake of investments and yet half-hearted to give them back as rebates to the citizens in their constituency?

Using it a war chest for the next election too? FU PAP.

coder said...

Tanjong Pagar TC Annual Report 2005/2006 (page 18-34)

Partial Listing:

* * *
Operating Income
• Conservancy & Service fees = $35,168,771
Less:
• Operating transfer to Sinking Funds (min required by law) = $11,703,106
• Other Income = $3,328,229

Subtotal = $26,793,894

Less:
Operating expenditure = $28,547,957

Operating (deficit)/surplus = ($1,754,063)
Add:
Non-operating income = $395,450

(Deficit)/Surplus before taxation but before Government grants = ($1,488,278)*

Add:
Government Grants = $10,683,720
Less:
Transfer to Sinking Funds = $2,536,000
Transfer to Town Improvement & Project Funds = $2,464,723
* * *

• ACCUMULATED SURPLUS AS AT 31 MARCH = $19,801,196

Non-Current Assets:
• Funds with fund manager = $37,175,597
• Investments = $73,307,489
(Total = $110,480,086)

*Note: this is a negative number

This is not the full report, you need to read the report to understand the whole picture.

I just see it simply. After collecting fees of $35m, $11.7m is transferred into the sinking funds (for investments?). You get to use $26.8m but your expenditure is $28.5m and what you get. You have a deficit of $1.75m. They get government grants of $10.7m and you have an accumulated surplus of $19.8m. Does it mean that there was surplus fund accumulated from the previous financial year?

They get government grants and they still transfer some of it to the sinking funds, even with operating expenditure like that. It seems that the sinking funds get more attention than the rest of the things.

coder said...

Tanjong Pagar TC Annual Report 2005/2006 (page 18-34)

Partial Listing:

* * *
Operating Income
• Conservancy & Service fees = $35,168,771
Less:
• Operating transfer to Sinking Funds (min required by law) = $11,703,106
• Other Income = $3,328,229

Subtotal = $26,793,894

Less:
Operating expenditure = $28,547,957

Operating (deficit)/surplus = ($1,754,063)
Add:
Non-operating income = $395,450

(Deficit)/Surplus before taxation but before Government grants = ($1,488,278)*

Add:
Government Grants = $10,683,720
Less:
Transfer to Sinking Funds = $2,536,000
Transfer to Town Improvement & Project Funds = $2,464,723
* * *

• ACCUMULATED SURPLUS AS AT 31 MARCH = $19,801,196

Non-Current Assets:
• Funds with fund manager = $37,175,597
• Investments = $73,307,489
(Total = $110,480,086)

*Note: this is a negative number

This is not the full report, you need to read the report to understand the whole picture.

I just see it simply. After collecting fees of $35m, $11.7m is transferred into the sinking funds (for investments?). You get to use $26.8m but your expenditure is $28.5m and what you get. You have a deficit of $1.75m. They get government grants of $10.7m and you have an accumulated surplus of $19.8m. Does it mean that there was surplus fund accumulated from the previous financial year?

They get government grants and they still transfer some of it to the sinking funds, even with operating expenditure like that. It seems that the sinking funds get more attention than the rest of the things.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, I am surprised that you are surprised.

Subsidiaries do tend to model the parent company in conduct and affairs.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a pattern here. TCs get government grants and they are sure to transfer part (they always use this line: minimum required by law) of this money to their sinking funds. They take some money from the collected fees and transfer them to the sinking funds again.

With the sinking funds, they give to the fund managers to invest. The sums of funds with fund manager and the investments are usually quite large. We do not know if that is the money transferred to fund managers or it is money earned from the investments.

So, the government give TCs monetary grants to do what: maintain the estates or invest for the government? The fund managers could be government-linked. Or all TCs use the same designated fund manager.

Bear in mind, these are government money (or taxpayers'), I don't think that the government would want any fund manager to handle it. Is there an obvious choice here?

We are now back to the theory of "cheap funds".

Anonymous said...

With so much money holding in the Sinking Funds, I have one question and hope you can enlighten me on this Mr Wang.

Lets say if after redrawn of electoral boundary, some blocks of flats from TC A is drawn into another, TC B. And if TC B is won by opposition. Can TC B ask to get the monies for that few blocks paid, from the sinking funds of TC A.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Anon 1020 pm:

Perhaps you don't read very well. To understand my position, try reading my post again. Here's a clue: try paying attention to the sentence "we have been paying too much".

Anonymous said...

PAP as a political party should be audited and their sources of funding and disbursement examined. I will not be surprised how their funds get "mixed up" and "utilised" with taxpayers' funds and perhaps even GLCs in strange ways. This will be the ultimate skeleton in the closet, and hence the dictatorial and iron grip on power. Don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

I say this sounds like another NKF. I am sure a Durai will come out of this very soon, complete with gold taps.

I was wondering Mr Wang will you be going to the blog meet? I really hope to see you there.

I will be nice to actually see the bloggers in the flesh, instead of just always imagining them all the time. I looking very much to catch up with ppl like Brown, darkness, molly meek and mr miyagi and of course you.

Anonymous said...

Now that we have watchdogs looking after the conduct of charities and religious groups, perhaps the next step will be another watchdog looking after the TC funds. And I bet this will come about only if one or two TCs get caught with extensive losses on the stock market. Right now it looks as if everybody is assuming everybody is above board and everything is under control. Hmmm, you never know.

Gary Teoh said...

They have so much money and yet they want to increase car park fee, C&C fee,everything goes up never come down,Potong Pasir TC dont have enough $ for upgrading, can government help? Ministers only take care of their coffer, what a lousy country

Anonymous said...

I believe the furor arises from a differing expectations of what is
- Your Money
- Their Money

Seriously, is anything that your have not control over really yours?

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of 'watch dogs' and 'watch dogs' can be 'formed' anytime when 'needed'. However if the 'watch dogs' are blind and incapable of 'scents', not only will it be a waste of money and time, one maybe offended by the inefficacy and failure.

coder said...

Information on Singapore Town Council Annual Reports
The following information is to highlight the availability of online (electronic version) of annual reports on the town councils' websites for the financial year of 2005/2006.

Aljunied Town Council [ website ]
PDF Link
Reports for previous years

Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council [ website ]
PDF Link for 2005/2006
PDF Link for 2004/2005
Location of PDFs

East Coast Town Council [ website ]
English (General)
Financial (Accounts)
Financial report states that their professional fund managers are UOB Asset Management Ltd and DBS Asset Management Ltd.

Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council [ website ]
Chairman's Message
Annual Report 2005/2006 (check out the way the PDF was produced)
AUDITORS’ REPORT

Hong Kah Town Council [ website ]
They split the report by page and by batch.
Part I (page 1 to 18) (zipped format)
Part II (page 19 to 40) (zipped format)
Types of foreign currencies for investments are stated in the report (part II).

Hougang Town Council [website]
Annual Report
Balance Sheet
Income and Expenditure Statement
Observe the accumulated surplus as compared to other town councils.
Also, take note that they do not have government grants.

Jalan Besar Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

Jurong Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

Marine Parade Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

Potong Pasir Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

Sembawang Town Council [ website ]
Page 1 - 26
Page 27 - 44
Page 45 - 62
Location of the previous FY annual report

Tampines Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

Tanjong Pagar Town Council [ website ]
Annual Report page 1-17
Annual Report page 18-34

West Coast Town Council [ website ]
Not available on website.

*****

Note: Please be informed that the above information is provided "as is" and the hyperlinks are accurate at time of posting (5 Dec '07). The printed town council annual reports are probably available via the proper channels. The above information is available on the public domain.

CountOnMeSg said...

If town councils can no longer invest freely in private corporations, they would invest the money in GLCs. The funds ultimately end up in Temasek. Temasek then gets to invest our money in any manner they wish. It almost sounds like money-laundering to me...

Anonymous said...

These town councils are just doing what the pap government has been doing which is to take more than necessary and then hoard the balances to ensure the future of their selfish needs.

Anonymous said...

In the words of a famous lady "this is peanuts". If the entire machinery was examined the people will die from shock. If politicians had to declare their assets like in other corrupted and undemocratic countries the dead will rise from their grave in shock.

Alan Wong said...

If I remember correctly, certain use of these town council funds for the opposition held wards in Potong Pasir and Hougang were not allowed by the Gahmen on the basis that some of the proposals made by the opposition constituencies run counter to the basic functions/regulations laid out for Town Councils.

The PAP was practically hawking over the opposition wards' town council funds like a vulture. It appears that they were ever too willing to strike the minute any contravention of these regulations was reported.

Now we have the PAP's own town councils appearing to have contravened the original purpose and functions for which these town councils were set up for. How come no sense of urgency to detect any impropriety?

Like the NKF scandal, one can never really know what skeletons we can unravel until we have a detailed probe into the finances of each of these town councils. One just has to look at corruption scandals of the Taiwan PPP party to really understand the widespread abuse of its leaders and cronies. Are we sure this is not happening in Singapore when there is no effective watch dog to check our our own leaders and their RELATIVES?

Or was it a case of a REALLY BIASED standard for PAP and another DAMNED standard for others?

Remember :-

1) LKY political propanganda vs Martyn See's political films
2) PAP Youth vs WP's cycling ban;
3) Pedra Blanca's vs Foreign Press's engagement of QC
4) ...........etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

PROPRIETY? Is there any here in SIN?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, Do you know what the rules are for the town council members who invest in the stock market?

If there are no rules then, council members would be able to influence the stock market for their own personal benefit.

coder said...

With reference to Hougang Town Council.

Hougang Town Council raises conservancy charges from October
By May Wong, CNA (03 October 2007)

In this article, Mr Low highlighted that they had to transfer 80% of accumulated surplus to the sinking funds as required by law (Town Council Act). This created some working cashflow problems for Mr Low.

All town councils also have to do the same compulsory 80% transfer of their accumulated surplus, as required by law. I believe that they also faced with difficult operating cashflow problems as seen in some of their annual reports. This happened even when they raised their C&C fees and other charges.

The only difference is that all PAP town councils receive government grants to cover the shortfalls.

So, can you see what is happening here?

Additional reference:
TOWN COUNCILS ACT (Chapter 329A)
(Singapore Statutes Online)

coder said...

Additional reference:
TOWN COUNCILS ACT (Chapter 329A)
(Singapore Statutes Online)

With reference to the above hyperlink in the previous comment post. The link displays only one section of the Town Councils Act. The Singapore Statutes Online website uses a frame-based web design layout that has some difficulties in bookmarking.

The following link shows the correct way viewing the Act (with frames):

TOWN COUNCILS ACT (Chapter 329A)

Maybe, the department has not caught on with the new web design trends or it is left that way for some unknown reasons.

your loyal reader said...

What's the big deal?

Isn't it good to know that we have enough Sinking fund that to have a negative fund?

$1b is not that big a figure if you consider that this fund is for the benefit of over 80% of Singaporeans who own a HDB flat.

Universities the whole world over invested their surpluses. Some of the renowned universities have fund managers working exclusively for them.

Investing the surpluses is the right thing to do.

Just like you invest in your insurances or equities.

Anonymous said...

Coder: So what you are saying is that the Hougang Town council is around 15 million dollars in its coffers but it can't use the money.

coder said...

Anon (December 6, 2007 8:22 AM):

The subject matter is the operating cashflow and government grants. See the below article in full for additional information.

*****

Hougang Town Council raises conservancy charges from October
By May Wong, CNA (03 October 2007)

SINGAPORE : The Hougang Town Council has increased its service and conservancy charges from October.

The increase will see residents paying between S$2 and S$9 more every month.

Opposition Member of Parliament Low Thia Khiang, who manages the constituency, said the last time the charges were revised was 10 years ago.

n a letter to residents, he said if the current charges are not increased, the town council will face a deficit of S$280,000 for this financial year.

Mr Low said with the compulsory transfer of 80 percent of its accumulated surplus into the sinking fund, the town council does not have any reserve funds to cushion the shortfall.

The compulsory transfer is required under the Town Council Act after the last general election. - CNA /ls

*****

Also, for reading pleasure,

Speech made by Mr Low in parliment (18 July 2005), with regards to the Town Council (Amendment) Bill.

Straits Times (11 June 2006) - Opposition Can Use Surpluses For Upgrading

We need to understand the different aspects of the town councils' sinking funds and how the town councils use their other funds.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

My money is my money. Your money is also my money. You cannot use it your way. Same with your CPF money. Uniquely Singapore! City of impossible possibilities!

kitsura said...

Good thing I'm staying in private property so can manage my own maintenance fund.

Anonymous said...

Town council must and will get their monthly payment from you no matter how, you can ignore the reminder letters, you can throw away their small claim court letters to you, and so on.... guess whats next?? They get HDB to band you from renewing your season parking then everyday they send their people down to issue parking offence to you !!When you ask why is HDB stopping you from renewing your season?? They can tell you thats because town council says so!! Ha, $30 per day, one month? $900 offence fees! Sunday also they'll get you because ater 10;30pm its the time the law permits them to come and hunt you down!!!

Mr Wang Says So said...

Loyal reader:

I think $1,000,000,000 *is* a big deal. Especially for town councils, which are not supposed to be profit-making or income-generating enterprises, but which are simply supposed to collect residents' money for administering common property / public facilities in the neighbourhood.

Mind you, it's not even ALL public infrastructure in the constituency that the town council is responsible for.

Roads will still be built by URA. Bus stops will still be maintained by LTA. Parks will still be run by NPB. HDB blocks will still be refurbished by HBD etc etc. Libraries will still fall under the NLB. Swimming pools and sports facilities will still be run by the SSC. Even lift upgrading is largely paid for by the government separately (75% - 90%); the rest is paid by the flat owner himself and the Town Council).

So the scope of the town council's responsibilities is probably much smaller than what you might have thought it was.

And yes, you then will see that >$1,000,000,000 is quite shocking.

It seems to me that if the town councils have collected such huge surpluses, then they have been overcharging Singaporeans for a long time. They should either cut conservancy charges, or refund part of the surplus to Singaporeans.

Robert L said...

Dear Mr Wang

Forgive my ignorance, but is the $1Billion figure for one Town Council or the total of all TCs combined? I'm sorry if I had not followed this issue from the beginning.

From HDB website, they have some 878,813 flats flats under management, so if the 1Billion is for all these flats, then the sinking fund is $1,138 per flat. Can anyone who knows about such things tell us whether this figure is excessive?

Anonymous said...

Suggestions:
1. If town councils have so much tucked away, how much is enough? Unused funds should be depleted to reduce S&C charges.
2.Whilst a limit may be placed on 'investments', shouldnt there be restrictions on the 'type' or 'risk categories'? Limits on losses? People who are qualified to advise on the investments? Afterall, it's the peoples' money !
3. Looks like amassing surplus for it's own sake without a cap.
4. Shocking that a TC can become a major shareholder of Creative. Where are the rules for full disclosure on P & L impact annually reflected in the accounts? Are there any?
5. Any CDO's on the books? Afterall, CDO's are about Yield?
6. There should be a national audit on this issue - NOW.

Anonymous said...

so much information but only on the internet.

I think Mr Wang should start a net-paper called the REAL Singapore Times(RST)...??

Anonymous said...

When will stupid Singaporeans wake up and stop voting the PAP govt? You guys only got yourselves to blame, greedy over upgradings, handouts and progress packages. They are using your money to buy your votes. It will be the same goes for the upcoming compulsory insurance.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Link = $1 Billion in Singapore Town Council Fund.

Anonymous said...

I will be more specific on one of town council matters. I get to know this authority in Sembawang Town Council who is in charge of some kind of contracts for services and maintenance for the region. Isn't it nice to know that at times this person actually take benefit to himself/herself(personal home maintenance) in regards to town council matter? Honestly, maybe/if one day I'm one of those contractors who are given to chance to bid for their job, I'm not very looking up too much to them(sembawang town council) anymore.