A study by fund manager Fidelity Investments has found that almost eight in every 10 employers believe the proposed Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) will be positive for workers. The findings from the study of 250 senior executives showed 45 per cent of employers thought the MPF would be good for employers and employees. A further 33 per cent believed the scheme would be good for employees, but a cost to bosses. Just 15 per cent of employers believed the scheme would be purely a cost for themselves and employees. The research will provide encouragement to the Government, in the wake of findings released this week that less than 20 per cent of workers support the MPF. Yesterday, MPF authorities continued their briefing programme for legislators at the Legislative Council, with discussions centring on possible exemptions to the MPF scheme and how it will apply to the self-employed. Maureen To, assistant director in charge of special duties at the MPF office, said the office was confident draft subsidiary legislation in the area could be submitted to Legco by April. The office hopes the subsidiary legislation, which contains many of the principles and details related to the fund, including trustee requirements, approval of fund managers and investment restrictions, will be approved before the handover. This will follow what Ms To described as a 'very tight timetable' of briefings and approvals that would be required for it to go ahead within this time frame. About 20 per cent of the respondents to the Fidelity study, conducted at a seminar organised by the fund manager yesterday, said they did not operate a retirement plan for their staff. All employers will be forced to operate such a plan to comply with the MPF legislation. The study also examined the investment philosophy of many employer retirement plans. Half of those surveyed said their retirement plans were looking to the long term, while 30 per cent were looking to beat inflation and 20 per cent were seeking capital protection. A senior Fidelity director, Mark Konyn, said the statistics on the investment philosophies of some employer retirement schemes indicated a significant degree of conservatism, given the number of schemes purely looking at offering capital protection to their staff. He said it was encouraging that about 50 per cent of the employers surveyed were looking to achieve long-term growth in funds for members of the schemes. This was the ideal objective for such plans, he said.