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Singapore's investor clips reward for staff accountable to purchase

May 30, 2023: On Monday, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings said that it had cut compensation for the team that recommended its investment in the recent-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange and its senior management team.

The move comes around six months after Temasek initiated an internal review of its FTX investment, resulting in a writedown of $275 million.

“Although there was no misconduct by the investment team in reaching their investment recommendation, the investment team and senior management, who are ultimately responsible for investment decisions made, took collective accountability and had their compensation reduced,” Temasek Chairman Lim Boon Heng said in a statement posted on Temasek’s website on Monday.

Temasek did not detail the amount of compensation cut.

Temasek had said its investment cost in FTX was 0.09% of its net portfolio value of 403 billion Singaporean dollars ($304 billion) as of March 31, 2022, and it currently had no direct exposure to cryptocurrencies.

Temasek also said it had conducted “extensive due diligence” on FTX last year, with its audited financial statement “which stated it to be profitable.”

Fund and Sequoia Capital had also marked down their investment to zero after FTX, founded by Sam Bankman Fried, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. last year.

“With FTX, as alleged by prosecutors and as admitted by key executives at FTX and its affiliates, there was fraudulent conduct intentionally hidden from investors, including Temasek,” Lim said in the statement on Monday. “Nevertheless, we are disappointed with the outcome of our investment and the negative impact on our reputation.”

Lim said that Temasek seeks to deliver sustainable returns over the long term by investing in early-stage companies.

“While there are inherent risks whenever we invest, we believe that we are investing in recent sectors and emerging technologies to understand how these areas may impact the business and financial models of our existing portfolio and whether they would be drivers of future value in an ever-changing world,” Lim added.

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