The Legislative Council is seeking to mothball the controversial mandatory provident fund (MPF) until after the handover, saying it is too complex and extensive to review accurately before June 30. Councillors on Friday will ask the Government for a minimum review period of three months to consider the completed legislation, ending any hope of passing it before the original handover deadline. Legco committee chairman Ronald Arculli said it would have to consider more than 200 pages of rules and regulations by the end of June to meet the current deadline. 'In the time available, it is just not possible to do a fair scrutiny,' Mr Arculli said. If the three-month review period is approved, the MPF will be indefinitely postponed, with no guarantee as to when - or if - it might be returned to the Special Administrative Region's legislative agenda. The move is likely to be a bitter but not unexpected blow to the financial services industry, which has spent millions of dollars preparing for the defined contribution scheme expected to generate up to $40 billion a year to manage. Pension experts said there was also a growing realisation that Legco MPF sub-committee members could not meet the deadlines and still claim to have rigorously reviewed the proposed scheme. An MPF Office spokesman said any postponement would not stop it from continuing to produce the regulations. He said: 'Legislative councillors have told us there is no way they can get the regulations through in time. The decision as to whether to proceed with the legislation before the handover is out of our hands.' The scheme, which is the Government's last major piece of social legislation before the handover, has been dogged by controversy since its inception. The original proposal to have a defined benefit scheme - providing a set level of retirement benefit - was scrapped for the defined contribution model, where final benefits are based on contributions and their management. Over the past three years, there has been intense debate about its structure and administration. In February, the future of the scheme was placed in doubt when maverick Legco members threatened to withhold the MPF Office's funding until key concessions were made on benefits and investment protection. There is a general consensus that Legco will back the request from the MPF sub-committee to amend the agenda. Financial powerhouses such as HSBC Holdings have set up specialist operations, while others, such as American International Assurance and the Principal Financial Group, have invested in sophisticated computer systems. Strategic alliances between fund management groups to combine fund management and administrative capacity with distribution networks were also being considered. HSBC Provident Fund Services chief executive Greg Willis said: 'The Government has made a great effort but the industry and Legco need more time. 'Members of our project team will resume their jobs within the organisation until we have a clearer idea as to when the scheme will be introduced.' Fidelity Investments senior director Mark Konyn added: 'There has been a lot of hard work done. There is consensus on the key issues of separating the old age pension from the mandatory provident fund, seeking a mandatory provident fund rather than a central provident fund and having it managed by the private sector.'