Many employers have failed to realise the administrative headaches they could face in implementing the MPF, according to a pensions expert. Anne Weedon, assistant vice-president of the MPF project at Manulife, said human resources managers needed to start examining the implications of the MPF fund to ensure the changes ran smoothly. 'I think [employers] need to start educating themselves,' she said. Ms Weedon said the human resources (HR) department was likely to bear the brunt of the responsibility for administering the scheme internally, but most managers remained unaware of what would be necessary. 'Human resources managers often do not understand what their responsibilities are going to be,' she said.'But it is the HR department that ends up working with the providers.' When the Mandatory Provident Fund Authority processes the approvals for MPF providers, finance and human resources departments are expected to have around 10 to 15 providers to choose from, each with a selection of products. Manulife, which is setting up a trust company to manage its MPF scheme, expects to offer a combination of its own funds and third-party funds for its products, as it does in the US and Canada. Ms Weedon said employers needed to think carefully in choosing which was the right plan for both the employees and the company. While most finance managers would look at the level of risk involved in each product in making their assessment, she said they should not ignore the level of service the providers could offer. 'They have got to look at the services that are offered,' she said. 'They need to consider how much they have to get involved [in administering the scheme] and how much they can off-load on to the provider.' The providers offering the lowest prices might be cutting costs by reducing the level of service offered. For example, there might be little care taken in ensuring statements were sent to employees on time and that they were correct. Any mistakes, and the employer would have to deal with an angry employee. 'It could be very uncomfortable for the employer and they could lose valuable employees,' Ms Weedon said. Manulife has a dedicated department for the MPF project and has 35 staff working full time on it. It has also invested a considerable amount in training sales agents to handle the MPF. They had already begun visiting existing and potential clients to discuss the issues involved and to answer employers' questions. Ms Weedon said one of the biggest expenses was in developing the system to support the scheme and ensure that it could offer a wide range of choices in terms of the funds offered and the service provided. A number of initiatives had been implemented.