Now let’s see MPF action

The performance of Mandatory Provident Fund schemes improved as the stock market picked up towards the end of last year.

Also welcomed was the recent launch of the Employee Choice Arrangement, which gives new urgency to the movement to bring down MPF fees.

Reportedly working hard on introducing reforms as soon as possible to this end is Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority chairwoman Anna Wu Hung-yuk.

Even more encouraging is her statement of intent to the Legislative Council financial affairs panel that the end game for the authority is to ensure contributors have the first and final say over how their savings are invested.

In the interim, Wu has set out proposals for reducing fees, including setting up “basic, low-risk default” funds, as well as encouraging workers to make better use of the electronic platform to check and verify the performance of their schemes in a central data base and consolidate funds.

As for having the Hong Kong Monetary Authority operate certain MPF schemes, Wu said the more crucial issue is the feasibility of having non- profit organizations as trustees.

After being in operation for more than a decade, the MPF system requires fundamental changes to adapt to changing community expectations and to widen its acceptance.

As a member of the Executive Council, Wu knows the challenges involved and how to overcome them.

The authority will be working on various proposals to enhance the performance of the system, starting from the a dministrative level, as well as consulting the public before seeking legislative approval.

It is hoped that this approach will soon lead to a much-awaited breakthrough. Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily