News: Redas strikes back against NUS for 'developer collusion' study

Jan 20, 2020

Redas cast doubt on the methodology used in the paper and said they reserved the right to examine the findings so that the “faulty assumptions” could be addressed.

The Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) has strongly denied the suggestion that the industry is engaged in insider trading, price-fixing or collusion, reported Today.

This strong sentiment follows the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s recent publication of a research paper that claimed the existence of “evidence of insider trading in the land market”.

The paper found that the top managers of the country’s real estate developers played golf with each other more often after the Government Land Sales programme was announced. It also claimed that the winning bids for the tenders were lower by 14.4% when compared to the winning bids made by those who did not play golf.

Redas cast doubt on the methodology used in the paper and said they reserved the right to examine the findings so that the “faulty assumptions” could be addressed.

“We are appalled by the lead researcher’s unsubstantiated assertion and the conclusions drawn by the authors are misleading. They cast aspersions on the conduct of the many reputable real estate businesses in Singapore and create distrust between the public, the authorities and the private sector,” said Redas.

The association said they have taken the allegations seriously and emphasised that the research “asserts that they ‘found evidence that reject the collusion hypothesis’”.

Redas claimed that it is “disingenuous that the finding was not included in the media release for the report”.

“The findings also clearly do not support the authors’ further conclusion that there is ‘insider trading in the land market’ and that there is a link between golfing and developers’ land bidding behaviour,” it said.

The association explained that the allegations of the research would affect the partnership between the different stakeholders in the built environment industry and the authorities that have helped to make “a Singapore brand renowned for its transparency and no-nonsense business environment.”

Chia Ngiang Hong, Redas president, showed his displeasure at the research paper’s findings during an interview with Bloomberg.

“Even if there’s an exchange of information, it’s not a guarantee that you will win the bid. Real estate executives play golf quite often. To say we play golf just to discuss land sales or business is presumptuous,” he said.

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