News: Researchers withdraw earlier claim of “insider trading” during golf sessions

Jan 23, 2020

Following the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore’s (REDAS) strong denial of the allegations of “insider trading” during golf sessions, the researchers have now removed their claims in an updated version of the paper.

The researchers behind a National University of Singapore (NUS) research paper claiming “evidence of insider trading in the land market”, have now changed their tune, reported Today.

Following the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore’s (REDAS) strong denial of the allegations of “insider trading” during golf sessions, the researchers said they could not establish the allegation and so removed such term in an updated version of the paper dated 19 January 2020.

The researchers from NUS initially claimed that the top managers of Singapore’s real estate developers played golf with each other a lot more after the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme was announced.

It went on to claim that the winning bids for the tenders turned out to be 14.4% lower compared to the winning bids placed by those who did not play golf.

“Research is dynamic in nature. Scientists go through many iterations of the paper in the research process. With this study, we thought we could establish insider trading. This turned out not to be the case, and hence the content on insider trading was removed in subsequent versions,” said the paper’s lead researcher Professor Sumit Agarwal.

He also clarified that the research paper’s online version has been updated.

While the “insider trading” term has been deleted, the other findings remained untouched in the paper.

The researchers stuck with their claim that information on land bidding could possibly be exchanged between the managers while playing golf, which in turn could be utilised to make more informed bids to purchase land parcels from the government.

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Redas has yet to comment on the changes implemented on the paper.

The association earlier categorically denied the suggestion that the industry engages in any form of collusion, insider trading or price-fixing.

“We are appalled by the lead researcher’s unsubstantiated assertion and the conclusions drawn by the authors are misleading,” said Redas last Friday.

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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