The Passing of a Giant

Lee Kuan Yew died yesterday. What is his legacy?


Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore’s leader, then senior advisor, for five decades. He’s called Singapore’s founding father. For many, modern Singapore and Lee are synonymous. He oversaw the city-state’s transformation from an underdeveloped British backwater with almost no natural resources to a modern Asian Tiger.

Lee did this by focusing on the economy, taking advantage of two things Singapore did have: a decent port and the British legal tradition. He forged ties between the principal ethnic groups—Malays and Chinese—being articulate in both languages himself. And he strengthened the rule of law to keep corruption low.

Singapore’s trade-based economy is now one of the strongest in the world, with low tax rates, free markets, limited government, and an efficient regulatory regime. Starting a business there takes about three days, and the process is clear. By contrast, it can take over two months to get permission to open a lemonade stand in New York City, with lots hoops to jump through.

Lee’s legacy demonstrates the inverse of the resource curse. Lacking commodity-based wealth, he invested in the only true resource any society has: human potential.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Phone: 603-224-1350
Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all!

Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd •
By |2017-07-17T12:23:00+00:00March 24th, 2015|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

Leave A Comment