The more we put aside for our old age, the richer a life we will obviously have when that time comes. While Hong Kong people are known to have a strong tradition of saving for rainy days, many are unable to provide for a comfortable retirement on their own for reasons not totally under their control. Hence the decision by the government to set up a compulsory savings scheme, the Mandatory Provident Fund. Before the scheme was launched in 2000, the authorities, employers and interest groups bargained hard on terms for the MPF. They agreed that employers and employees would each contribute 5 per cent of the employee's salary towards the scheme. Even then, there were doubts if that level of contribution would be adequate, with increasingly longer lifespans and the potential for rising living costs. Given ever-changing circumstances and conditions, it is good that MPF Authority chairman Henry Fan Hung-ling and others in the government are reviewing the system to encourage participants to save more. Talk of tax incentives for people wanting to set aside more than the maximum is good, as was discussion of a reduction in the hefty fees being charged by trustees. But they are only part of a much needed revamp. Tax deductions are an obvious enticement to encourage increased MPF contributions. But while the incentive lifts retirement payouts of those who take up the deal, it is meaningless to more than half of the working population who do not pay salaries tax. To benefit the greatest number of MPF participants, the high annual fees charged by fund providers need to come down. Despite there being 19 trustees offering about 300 funds, a Consumer Council study revealed a lack of competition in how the trustees charged for management and accounting. The annual average fees of 2.06 per cent were among the highest in the world, even though many investments were chosen from a predetermined line of stocks and securities and needed only rudimentary management. Leading fund providers have since lowered fees for some, but not all, of their products. There are even more fundamental problems with the MPF scheme. Employers generally choose which trustee will manage the contributions they and their workers make. Some employers care that their employees' retirement needs are being properly met, but this is not always the case. Rather than choosing funds that are well-managed and cost effective, they opt for the simplest route, which is often the scheme operated by their company's bank. This is not in the spirit of the MPF system. When regulations were being formulated and put in place, the objective was plain: to ensure that people had the means to live comfortably after the retirement and therefore need minimal government help. There was good reason for such an aim. Ageing populations are a burden on the financial resources of governments. With just 7 million people and our city ranking high in global ageing leagues, decisive steps had to be taken. Worthy measures have been initiated, but they are insufficient and reform is necessary. A lack of competition and flexibility is undermining the MPF scheme. Workers have to be allowed to determine which funds their savings are put into. Fees have to come down even further. Every effort must be made by the authorities to ensure that this happens. Pensions are not something from which only a few should benefit; for the sake of our society's future, the best possible opportunities have to be available to all employees.