Stream of pension fund material leaves Hongkongers puzzled

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 9:37pm

I am sure every salaried individual in Hong Kong is being bombarded by their Mandatory Provident Fund service providers with letters, notices, statements and updated terms and conditions in relation to their MPF account.

How many of us actually take the time to study this constant flow of material?

Even with a finance background, I feel that the information being provided is not simple and transparent enough. I find the data difficult to comprehend and sometimes irrelevant, and wonder how the general populace going to handle the data being constantly thrown at them.

For most of us, spending time on MPF statements is like throwing good money after bad as, presently, the only beneficiaries of the scheme seem to be the approved trustees/service providers.

Currently there are 18 approved trustees, not to mention the principal intermediaries and the subsidiary intermediaries who total over 32,000, as per the data provided by the MPF Authority.

The total approved constituent funds stand at 484 and approved pooled investment funds at 307.

Does the government seriously think that a layman is qualified to choose the best trustee and further pick up the correct investment vehicle which will ensure they have enough funds for a comfortable retired life? Who are we kidding? This, coupled with the long-service pay offsetting mechanism, surely short-changes and taxes the workforce.

I would like the MPF Authority to look into the reduction of unnecessary paperwork. Also, I want to know how many tonnes of paper are being cumulatively wasted in this manner.

The authority must look into making the system much simpler so that the man in the street, without a finance degree, is able to understand and manage his or her investments.

Alternatively, scrap the entire scheme in lieu of a guaranteed retirement protection plan where the entire benefit will go to the workforce.

Venkitaraman Krishnan, ­Cha Kwo Ling