Friday, 31 July 2015

Final proposals for CPF tweaks by end 2015: CPF Advisory Panel

The Straits Times, 30 Jul 2015

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) Advisory Panel's final set of recommendations on tweaks to make the CPF system more flexible will be released near the end of the year, said the panel's chairman Tan Chorh Chuan yesterday.

He was speaking at the end of the first of two public focus group discussions for the panel's fourth term of reference, which looks at options for investing CPF monies.

Prof Tan said the process would take longer than the previous phase of review, which looked at the flexibility for lump-sum withdrawals and higher CPF Life payouts, as investment options are more technical.

The work will include commissioning a study to model the effects of some of the options being considered.

The views he heard during the discussion were very varied, said Prof Tan, who is also president of the National University of Singapore.

"Some are quite happy to leave their CPF money as it is, because they're quite happy with the returns. Other participants see it as part of their portfolio and invest with their cash and keep it as guaranteed safe returns," he said.

There are also "very savvy people" who invest a large portion of their money, said Prof Tan, speaking to the media at the M2 Academy in Orchard.

But there are also some who do not invest even though they might want to because they lack confidence or time to manage the investments, or who may invest more if there were simpler lower cost options available.

During the discussion, members of the public were asked to consider four features adopted by other retirement systems, which could be incorporated into a new investment scheme here.

These are:
- Fewer investment options that still offer a good mix of risk-to-return characteristics;
- An investment portfolio that automatically reduces portfolio risk as members near retirement;
- Investment options that are well-diversified and passively managed; and
- Options to stay invested for the long term, to improve the chances of better returns.
The majority of the 40 or so participants said they are already investing their CPF savings, for reasons such as earning more money for retirement to sustain the current lifestyle.

Others said that the fees on investments meant they cannot attain an optimal rate of return.

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