The financially savviest PE candidate of them all

In Financial competency, Political governance on 05/11/2011 at 4:08 pm

With the PM’s talk of a global financial crisis worse than that of 2008; and with three of the four presidential canidates having financial credentials (one an ex- banker, finance minister and SWF executive director; another an actuary and retired insurance CEO, and the third an “investment adviser”, I tot it would be fun to analyse their presidential election performance in terms of one indicator of financial savviness: see table below).

Tan Jee Say (the “investment adviser”, previously a senior civil servant with a background in economic policy, investment banker and fund manager, who, when he first entered politics this year, called himself an “investor”) was the most effective campaigner in $ terms in the presidential election. But among the four candidates, he flunked badly the first rule of high finance: “use other people’s money”. He had the most self-funding to do percentage-wise, 78.41%. He only got donations amounting to 21.59% of what he spent. TJS had the courage to spend what it takes to run an effective campaign, but he sure is no expert in using other people’s money.

The People’s Voice ,Tan Kin Lian (actuary and retired CEO of an insurer), wanted $2m a year in presidential salary, but was only willing to spend other people’s money, not his own to campaign. He was even trying to get donors to fund his deposit (Knew would lose deposit?).  But he ended up in second place to TJS when it came to self-funding, percentage-wise. Right attitude, incompetent execution.

Tony Tan has his presidential salary to console himself for having to spend the most (in absolute terms)  from his own pocket,$165070. His many endorsements (especially from the unions) didn’t result in much money. Could this show the meanness and insincerity of those S’poreans who “endorsed” him? Or that they are a bunch of cheap skates?

Tan Cheng Bock MD can console himself for his very narrow loss by congratulating himself for doing better than the financial experts. He outspent everybody else by a big margin, but did it largely on other people’s money. He spent $60424.65 of his own money, only 10.33% of his total campaign expenses. TKL spent more of his own money (in absolute terms) than TCB.

“Tan Cheng Bock Ho Say Le”. 

 Presidential Elections 2011: Expenses, Donations & Self-funding

 Candidate Amount Spent ($) Donations($) Donations as % of Amount Spent Self-funding($) Self-funding as % of Amount Spent
Tony Tan 503070 338000 67.19 165070 32.81
Tan Cheng Bock 585045.03 524620.38 89.67 60424.65 10.33
Tan Jee Say 162337 35045 21.59 127292 78.41
Tan Kin Lian 118912.16* 55024.82 46.27 63887.34 53.73

*Includes forfeited deposit of $48,000. Sources: media reports and official government data

  1. […] Presidential Elections 2011 – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: The financially savviest PE candidate of them all […]

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