1000 S’poreans Benchmark: 2 Questions

In Financial competency, Political governance on 11/01/2012 at 5:33 am

(Update at 12.25pm on 11 January 2011: I goofed on second question, missing a footenote in the report that covers this issue. I plead guilty to the crime also committed by Uncle Leong of TOC and KennethJ: didn’t read report throughly. Sorry for being stupid. Interest, rents and dividends are excluded from the computation.)

New Benchmark

We chose to benchmark the entry MR4 Minister’s salary to the median income of the top 1,000 earners who are Singapore Citizens but with a 40% discount to signify the sacrifice that comes with the ethos of political service. This benchmark is based on a larger pool that does not specify occupations and covers only Singapore Citizens, the pool of talent that political leaders will be drawn from.

Question 1

How many civil servants, and chairmen, CEOs, directors and senior managers of GIC, Temasek, Temasek-Linked companies, and other GLCs are on this 1000-S’poreans list? If there is a significant proportion (say 5% or more), then one could argue that there is a circular argument at work: the pay of ministers are benchmarked to many people whose salaries are determined or influenced directly or indirectly by ministers. The SDP, KennethJ and TR Emeritus could argue that croynism is at work. 

The CEOs (and perhaps some senior executives) of SGX, Keppel, SembCorp, SMRT, Delgro, SIA, DBS, CapitaL, ST and should be on the 1000 list based on their companies’ annual reports.

It would be a gd idea if the number of civil servants, and chairmen, CEOs, directors and senior managers of GIC, Temasek, Temasek-Linked companies, and other GLCs on the list is made public.Pigs would fly first. Sigh.

(Related issue:

Question 2

Shouldn’t the 1000 S’poreans Benchmark only have on it “incomes that are earned” i.e. salaries and bonuses? All income derived from interest, rental income and dividends should be excluded? I’m sure that many of the people on this list derive significant income from dividends, interest and rents. They could have inherited or been gifted the proprties, deposits or securities, rather than buy these themselves. I mean, surely there is no merit in being rich via marriage or lineage in a meritocracy?

SGDaily points out that I missed a foot note.

In the committee’s full report para 58, it points to a foot note –

[10] The current benchmarks are calculated based on Principal Earned Income (PEI) of the top 8 earners from 6 professions i.e. incomes from only the individual’s principal profession / trade and not incomes from other employment. The revised benchmarks will be based on the Total Employment and Trade income (TEI) of the top 1,000 earners from all professions, i.e. incomes from all employment and trade of the individual, and will no longer include a 50% discount on stock options. The switch is appropriate as the new benchmark no longer focuses on specific professions but on the all-round earning capability of a much larger pool of individuals. Like PEI, TEI also includes monthly salaries, bonuses, commissions, stock options and partnership income but excludes unearned and passive forms of income, such as dividends, rent and interest.

Earlier posting on salaries review

(Yes, Yes I know, I misspelt Gerard’ Ee’s name. Blame TOC, I copied the name from there.)

  1. On Q2, shouldn’t the earned income exclude bonuses too? The proposed base pay should match the base pay of the select (1000) group. It would be unfair to include the group’s bonuses in the Ministers base pay calculation and then still award bonuses to the Ministers.

    Can you imagine if these guys were running the USA, they will be paying themselves like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan? Greed knows no bounds.

  2. Hey, usually when other bloggers realised mistakes in their post, they delete their blog post! But you did not. Cheers!

  3. Well to all those stating that Oz politicians received less.

    Please find the below from SMH and politicians entitlements.

    HE IS said to be the most powerful man in NSW, the state’s “infrastructure tsar”.

    But the head of Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner, has cost taxpayers millions over the past 20 years because of entitlements given to former premiers who have served for at least four years.

    According to figures released by the Department of Premier and Cabinet as part of a freedom of information request, Mr Greiner has claimed the most in entitlements over the past three years. He is followed by Neville Wran and Bob Carr.

    Advertisement: Story continues below Barrie Unsworth, who was premier between 1986 and 1988, has been the most frugal, only claiming an entitlement for $384.61 in the 2009-10 financial year. Mr Unsworth said this was for hire car travel to official functions with the Turkish and Korean presidents.

    Figures show the entitlements of former premiers cost more than $5 million over three years.

    Kristina Keneally is the only former leader to receive nothing.

    In the past financial year, Mr Greiner claimed $588,532, most of which went towards staff salaries, a driver and his Macquarie Street office. He also spent $47,317 on ”other related costs”. Since 2008, he has claimed $1.83 million in entitlements from the government.

    In addition, he received $262,500 last year as chairman of the manufacturer Bradken, and has been chairman of The Nuance Group, QBE Insurance Group, Blue Star Print Group and Playup.

    In the same period, Mr Wran claimed less than Mr Greiner – $1.79 million – but in the past financial year he got $601,784.

    As a non-executive director of Cabcharge, a position he relinquished last year, Mr Wran earned $40,354 in 2011 and $96,850 in 2010 as well as acquiring hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of company shares during his tenure.

    The longest-serving premier, Bob Carr, who served for more than 10 years, comes in at third place, claiming $1.47 million over the same three-year period.

    He has also worked as a consultant to Macquarie Bank since retiring from politics.

    These three former premiers are the only ones who have claimed more than $1 million each in three years. The next most expensive is Morris Iemma, who held the job for three years and 33 days, and has claimed $314,996.

    The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, announced a review of the entitlement scheme of former premiers in October last year.

    His spokesman said the review has not yet been received.

    At the time of the announcement, Mr O’Farrell said: ”The premiers who receive the vast bulk of these benefits have secured other roles in the private sector where they’re well paid and probably don’t need the taxpayer to meet the cost of those services.”

    He also suggested premiers should be in office for more than five years before claiming any entitlements.

    According to documents released by the Premier’s Department, a ”long serving” premier is defined as one who has served four or more years in office.

    This entitles them to a car and driver on a full time basis, a car phone, a gold life pass for travel on all rail lines in Australia, free travel on State Transit for life, 12 first class return flights within Australia, and 12 return flights within the state.

    Their spouses are allowed two first class return interstate rail trips and seven first class return intrastate rail journeys each year, for every year of service as premier. They also have free air travel if they are travelling together.

    Long-serving premiers also get a home phone, an office, two full-time staff and free postage. All three former premiers were approached for comment but did not return phone calls.

    Read more:


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