About one-third of Hong Kong's small and medium-sized employers have yet to start selecting their Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) providers. 'We would encourage the employers to make a decision as early as possible,' said David Humphreys, chief executive of HSBC Provident Fund Services. The compulsory retirement scheme is to be launched on December 1, and the 300,000 companies without pension plans must enrol with one of the 21 providers by that date. According to an HSBC survey among 250 small and medium-sized enterprises in April and last month, only 30 per cent of respondents have chosen their MPF providers. Another 34 per cent are still in the process of choosing their providers and will make a decision in the three months before the deadline. The remainder have yet to begin the selection process. Mr Humphreys said that, in HSBC's case, about 40 per cent of the bank's 20,000 corporate clients intended to sign to its plan. He was confident the bank could secure its targeted 40 per cent share of the MPF market. As the largest pension plan provider in Hong Kong, HSBC has a 40 per cent share of existing insurance-based plans. The survey indicated many employers like to use the Internet to handle their MPF plans. Among the 78 per cent of respondents who have Internet access, 48 per cent would pay their MPF contributions via the Web. The survey also revealed that not all employers have detailed knowledge of the MPF options. For example, only 34 per cent of respondents know an employer's maximum monthly contribution per employee is HK$1,000. The survey showed 80 per cent of employers would consult staff when choosing an MPF providers. The employers would choose their providers according to financial strength, history in the pension market, and investment fund performance. Mr Humphreys said the survey indicated employers had little interest about an individual provider's fee structure.