A stock-market correction could help speed implementation of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF), an American fund expert claims. The Legislative Council's MPF sub-committee is expected tomorrow to request a minimum of three months to review draft regulations for the scheme, dashing any hope of its passage ahead of the handover. Michael Lipper, founder and president of US-based fund tracker Lipper Analytical Services, suggested that a consensus on the pension proposal might be easier to achieve if the market needed a prop, and the retirement fund could be used to do the job. 'I suspect, as with everything of a political nature, that there will be a trade-off,' he said yesterday. 'I don't know what the trade-off will be. 'Often where this might happen is if the market is down and the Government is looking for a way to prop up the market.' Mr Lipper expects a correction in the United States stock markets. He did not predict that the Hong Kong market would follow suit, but long-term studies indicated the Hong Kong market usually did fall in tandem with its New York counterpart. 'People are reacting today to an incredibly strong market,' he said. 'You might even say it would be irresponsible on the part of the Government to allow provident funds to go into equity, because that might give you a real dampening-type bubble.' If the Hong Kong market did drop, some of the disagreements that have plagued the MPF might melt away. 'Many things that seem distant or impossible will look very different in 18 months,' Mr Lipper said. He said he had reservations about proposals to require a minimum return on MPF monies, suggesting instead that funds be put into both guaranteed and variable-return products. Mr Lipper said concerns reflected in the calls for guaranteed returns could be addressed by allowing only people under 40 (or some other cut-off age) to put their pension money into equity investments. 'There are ways to deal with this,' he said.