Monday, 9 February 2015

CPF Advisory Panel Recommendations

CPF proposals make a good deal better: PM
THE recommendations of an advisory panel to make the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme more flexible for Singaporeans, based on their retirement needs, are appropriate as people seek greater say and security for their savings in old age, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said

The proposals announced yesterday are good, he added, while noting that even today, quite a number of people leave their money in their CPF accounts instead of taking out what they can at their drawdown age.
"They don't get a lot of publicity, they don't jump around at Hong Lim Green, but they quietly know this is a good deal. And what the committee is recommending, makes it an even better deal," he said.
"They don't just get 2.5 per cent (interest) on the amount they put in, they are going to get 4 per cent on the amount they are putting in. And it will see to the needs of the middle and lower end of the population, which is a benefit for Singaporeans."

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CPF ADVISORY PANEL RELEASES PART ONE OF RECOMMENDATIONS - TO PROVIDE GREATER ASSURANCE AND MORE FLEXIBILITY
The CPF Advisory Panel, set up in Sep 2014 to review ways to strengthen the CPF system, has submitted Part One of its recommendations to the Government. The Panel’s report covers the first two of the areas under review by the Panel, pertaining to future adjustments to the Minimum Sum and the issue of lump sum withdrawals.

In its report, the Panel recognised that the retirement needs and concerns of CPF members varied widely. Its recommendations aimed to strike a balance between ensuring that the focus of the CPF remains on providing a basic level of lifelong support in retirement, while offering additional flexibility to cater to varying needs.

The Panel will continue its work on two other areas under its purview on alternative private investments and annuities and introducing a CPF LIFE plan with an escalating payout structure. It aims to complete its study and submit Part Two of its recommendations by mid-2015.

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CPF system review: More flexibility proposed

This first batch of recommendations addressed two of the four areas the panel members were charged to study:
  • How the Minimum Sum should be adjusted after 2015, in order to meet the objective of delivering a basic monthly retirement payout for life
  • How to enable CPF member to withdraw more as a lump sum upon retirement, and the circumstances for their doing so, taking into consideration the impact on retirement adequacy for different groups
Since its formation in September 2014, the panel met with more than 400 Singaporeans of various ages and different walks of life at its Focus Group Discussions.

The panel is working on the second batch of recommendations, which they said will be submitted "later this year".

related:
Glossary: CPF Advisory Panel recommendations
NTUC gives thumbs up for CPF advisory panel's recommendations
Peg CPF retirement sum increase to long-term inflation, standard of living: Panel
CPF system review: More flexibility proposed
Educating public on leveraging more flexible options vital: MPs
More flexibility in system, but more simplification, explanation needed: Experts
Medisave Minimum Sum to be reviewed, says MOH

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CPF Advisory Panel recommendations

A 13-member advisory panel on Wednesday (Feb 4) made several recommendations on how to enhance the CPF system.

The proposals were aimed at giving Singaporeans more flexibility in how much they choose to leave in or withdraw from their retirement accounts, while staying true to the CPF scheme's primary intent of providing retirement adequacy for the majority of Singaporeans.

Here's a guide explaining some of the terms introduced at the press conference:
  • Basic Retirement Sum
  • Full Retirement Sum
  • Enhanced Retirement Sum
  • Basic Payout
  • Payout Eligibility Age
  • Payout Start Age
  • Retirement Account
  • CPF charge
  • Property Pledge
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'Balanced, constructive' CPF proposals accepted by Government

The recommendations proposed by a 13-member CPF Advisory Panel on Wednesday (Feb 4) have been accepted by the Government.
  • “I am pleased to accept the recommendations within Part One of the Panel’s report on behalf of the Government. We agree with the Panel’s view that there is a need to provide greater assurance to CPF members on the sums they must set aside in retirement,” said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in a letter to Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, who chaired the panel.
  • “We also agree with the Panel’s consideration that introducing greater flexibility and choice for CPF members in retirement must be balanced with the need to ensure the CPF system is able to provide adequately for their retirement over the longer term.”
The proposals, which included tiered Retirement Sums, the flexibility of a lump-sum withdrawal of up to 20 per cent from the Retirement Account at the age of 65 and adjusting retirement sums to account for long-term inflation rates and rising standards of living, were "balanced and constructive", said the minister.

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Peg CPF retirement sum increase to long-term inflation, standard of living: Panel

As part of its first batch of recommendations to enhance the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system to better meet members’ needs, the CPF Advisory Panel on Wednesday (Feb 4) proposed that retirement sums after calendar year 2016 be adjusted to account for both inflation and increases in the standard of living.

It also recommended that from 2017 to 2020, each cohort of members turning 55 in a calendar year should have its Basic Retirement Sum increased by 3 per cent from the cohort in the previous year. The figure was determined by taking into account a long-term inflation rate, instead of the yearly inflation rate which is currently used to determine the Minimum Sum.

The panel is working on the second batch of recommendations, which they said will be submitted "later this year".

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Monthly payouts under CPF Life
The Central Provident Fund provides lifelong monthly payouts in retirement through the CPF Life scheme

Last Wednesday, the Government accepted recommendations from a review panel on ways to make the system more flexible.

In the second of a three-part series, Joanna Seow answers questions on how the changes affect the payouts you can receive in your later years.

How are my monthly payouts under CPF Life calculated?
  • Payouts are based on how much you have in your Retirement Account.
  • The payouts are reviewed every year to account for changes in life expectancy, interest rates and transactions that change your Retirement Account balance.
related:
How CPF changes affect Retirement Account savings
CPF: Flexibility comes with risks
CPF reforms: Key issue is inadequate retirement savings


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How CPF changes affect Retirement Account savings
The Central Provident Fund provides members with lifelong monthly payouts in retirement through the CPF Life scheme. On Wednesday, the Government accepted recommendations from a review panel on ways to make the system more flexible

In the first of a three-part series, Joanna Seow looks at questions about how the changes affect the savings in your Retirement Account

What is the Basic Retirement Sum and how is it calculated?
  • To provide a monthly payout of about $650 to $700, the Basic Retirement Sum of $80,500 should be set aside in your Retirement Account if you are turning 55 next year.
  • This is based on expected expenditure needs in 10 years' time for retirees with spending in the lower-middle range. It assumes you own a home and do not pay rent.
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Different minimum sums and flexible withdrawals up ahead

SIGNIFICANT changes are in store for Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF) to allow people with higher lifestyle needs to receive bigger payouts from their pensions, while giving the flexibility to withdraw a small lump sum upon retirement.

The CPF Advisory Panel, headed by National University of Singapore (NUS) president Tan Chorh Chuan, shared at a press conference on Wednesday a list of nine recommendations that was submitted to the government.

In response, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said that the government has accepted the proposals, which he called "balanced and constructive". He added that the government would provide details on the CPF changes at the Budget and Committee of Supply parliamentary debates.

related:
Key recommendations of the CPF Advisory Panel
Higher CPF contribution rates for older workers mooted
Proposed changes strike a balance, say observers
CPF rethink needs to address structural retirement inadequacy
Ex-navy chief to take over reins at CPF Board
New chief executive at CPF Board from March 15
NTUC asks for boost in CPF rates and flexibility in withdrawals (Amended)


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CPF proposals: Govt accepts recommendations, more details on CPF changes at Budget debate

The Government has accepted the recommendations by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) advisory panel and it "will provide details on the CPF changes" at the Budget debate, said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.

The Budget will be delivered on Feb 23.

"The recommendations of the CPF Advisory Panel offer balanced and constructive proposals on how we can make further improvements to the CPF system," said the minister in a letter to Prof Tan Chorh Chuan who heads the panel.

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Minimum Sum options starting from $80,500?

Singapore residents can look forward to a more flexible national retirement scheme that allows them to customise different levels of savings and payouts.

A lump sum withdrawal at age 65, of up to 20 per cent of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings, is also on the cards.

It marks a departure from fixed monthly payouts, as a government-appointed panel offered proposals yesterday to improve the CPF system.

related:
CPF advisory panel pushes for more flexible system
'Employers have to be fair to the older workers'
CPF advisory panel to submit ideas on flexibility and more
More needs to be done for low-wage workers
Employees cheer ideas, but some firms alarmed
Recommendations on CPF 'may not meet intended aims'
Minimum Sum options starting from $80,500?
'Allow partial withdrawal of CPF savings at 65'
Ng Chee Peng appointed new chief executive officer of CPF board
Corporate pension plans 'less relevant' for S'pore
NTUC calls for flexibility on lump sum withdrawals
All-out publicity drive to help CPF members grasp latest changes
CPF investments: Too much choice may end badly
Blogger Roy Ngerng to testify: Lawyer
Panel to submit ideas on CPF next month
Panel to submit ideas on CPF next month
Coming soon: CPF changes, help in rehiring workers
Put your CPF money to work
CPF takes care of housing, so couple invests in childcare centre


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1 in 5 sure CPF meets retirement needs

Just one in five Singapore investors is confident that the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system will meet their retirement needs, according to the findings of a new Manulife survey.

Nearly half (47 per cent) the investors polled feel their CPF savings will not be sufficient to cover their retirement expenses and more than four in 10 believe the returns are too small, said the financial services group in a release yesterday.

Only a quarter of investors said they make additional voluntary contributions to their CPF accounts.

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CPF rethink needs to address structural retirement inadequacy

SINGAPORE's Central Provident Fund (CPF) system must go beyond tweaks to the withdrawal age and minimum sum, to address the structural problem of retirement inadequacy and returns on CPF funds, said participants of The Business Times' Pre-Budget Roundtable 2015.

"Parametric reform, things like changing how much you can withdraw at 65, changing the minimum sum . . . is actually just window dressing, to make people change their opinion about whether they like the CPF or not," said Walter Theseira, a Nanyang Technological University assistant economics professor with an interest in pension reforms.

A panel tasked by the government to review the CPF system is due to submit its official recommendations this week. It has indicated that it will recommend that CPF members be allowed to withdraw a lump sum of about 20 per cent of their retirement savings at age 65, and top up their CPF savings beyond the Minimum Sum for higher retirement payouts.

related:
Higher CPF contribution rates for older workers mooted
Different minimum sums and flexible withdrawals up ahead
Proposed changes strike a balance, say observers
Singapore Wrap Wednesday
CPF advisory panel pushes for more flexibility in withdrawals and monthly payouts
Need to give more restructuring support to SMEs in 2015 (Amended)


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NTUC calls for flexibility in CPF lump sum withdrawals

Amid long-standing grouses, particularly among lower-income groups, about the Minimum Sum rules locking in their retirement kitty, the labour movement has suggested an eye-catching change be incorporated into the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system: Allow everyone, regardless of whether they meet the Minimum Sum, to withdraw at least 20 per cent from their Retirement Accounts at one shot when they reach draw-down age.

Such a move will help CPF members foot potential large expenditures after they retire, the National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC) said in a press conference yesterday on the changes it proposed to a panel looking at enhancements to the CPF system.

Concerns have persisted over how current rules, which limit CPF lump sum withdrawals to S$5,000 for those who fall short of the Minimum Sum when they reach age 55, have hamstrung retirement plans of low-wage earners who find it a struggle to accumulate enough CPF savings to meet the yearly adjustments to the Minimum Sum.

related:
Government accepts CPF panel recommendations
CPF panel should review wage cap
CPF members should have more flexibility when joining CPF Life

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Housewives urged to seek CPF top-up

In the 150-strong crowd at a public forum held in Nee Soon yesterday to discuss this year's Budget, one woman stood out.

She was the lone housewife, among about 30 in the audience, who raised her hand when Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah did a poll of non-working women whose husbands topped up their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts.

Concerned by the low CPF balances of these women, Ms Lee encouraged the other housewives to ask for CPF top-ups from their husbands, so as to make full use of the higher interest rates announced in the Budget statement last month.

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CPF flexibility must come with controls

RETIREES' circumstances and needs vary, so there still needs to be flexibility in the withdrawal of Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings ("NMP opposes greater flexibility in withdrawal of CPF savings"; Wednesday).

One retiree may not wish to withdraw any CPF savings upon retirement because of abundant personal savings, while the CPF money may be the only source of funds for another retiree's basic, daily expenditure.

If more flexibility is given to the withdrawal of CPF savings, some control would have to be put in place to prevent abuse or retirees squandering the money. For example, if one wants to withdraw a substantial sum, he should be made to declare the purpose of the funds.

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CPF withdrawal at age 55: A matter of interest

Nowadays when anyone asks about my age, I would reply half in jest that I would be old enough to start withdrawing from my Central Provident Fund (CPF) - the national savings scheme - next year.

Hitting 55 - the age at which a person can take out the portion of his CPF savings that is not set aside for retirement needs - doesn't seem like such a big deal to me. Except for a receding hairline and the need to start wearing reading glasses, I still look and feel pretty much like I have always been.

Still, crossing 55 is an important milestone for many people. Survey after survey done by financial institutions such as DBS Bank show that Singaporeans aspire to stop working after they hit 55, if they can afford it.

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Full Coverage
Straits Time: Grant option of early, targeted saving for Minimum Sum
TODAYonline: CPF payments for life not necessary
TODAYonline: Raise Special Account rates to help the needy
Straits Times: How about personalised sums, payouts?
Channel News Asia: Experts welcome flexibility in CPF proposals
Straits Times: CPF proposals: A glossary of new terms
Straits Times: CPF proposals: Tightrope on numbers, sentiments
Straits Times: Advisory panel recommends lump sum withdrawals of up to 20%
Straits Times: CPF proposals: Waiting longer for chance to tap savings
BUSINESS TIMES: Higher CPF contribution rates for older workers mooted
BUSINESS TIMES: Different minimum sums and flexible withdrawals up ahead
AsiaOne: CPF proposals make a good deal better: PM
Straits Times: CPF proposals: Basic Retirement Sum will go up
AsiaOne: Minimum Sum options starting from $80500?
Channel News Asia: Educating public on leveraging more flexible options vital: MPs
CNA: More flexibility in system, but more simplification, explanation needed: Experts
Human Resources Online: Singapore's CPF gearing up for more flexibility
TODAYonline: Exercise withdrawal option with care, says panel
TODAYonline: Simpler, more flexible CPF scheme proposed
TODAYonline: How much does one need to retire? The answer varies greatly
TODAYonline: Fix size of Basic Retirement Sum hikes early, says panel
TODAYonline: Desire to give flexibility behind idea for tiered savings scheme
Straits Times: CPF proposals: Key recommendations by review panel
Straits Times: Proposals: Good as people seek greater say in and security for old-age
Channel News Asia: NTUC gives thumbs up for CPF advisory panel recommendations
Yahoo Singapore News: CPF minimum sum – in Small, Medium and Large
TODAYonline: NTUC expresses support for CPF Advisory Panel's recommendations
Straits Times: Govt accepts recommendations, more details on CPF changes
Straits Times: NTUC says Basic Retirement Sum a more realistic amount for
TODAYonline: CPF panel: Greater focus should be on retirement payouts


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related:
Social Media On CPF Advisory Panel Recommendations
CPF Advisory Panel Recommendations