SINGAPORE -Singaporeans are underinsured and poorly prepared for retirement yet many of them are being led astray by poor financial advice that leaves them worse off.
The solution, according to Monetary Authority of Singapore official Merlyn Ee on Thursday, lies in financial institutions raising their game to help people plan for their golden years.
Ms Ee, who is executive director and head of the capital markets intermediaries department, told a conference: "We need to do more to help Singaporeans better prepare for life's unexpected events and to set aside adequate savings for their golden years."
Ms Ee cited an HSBC study from last year, which found that 44 per cent of Singaporeans approaching retirement think that they are not adequately prepared while 12 per cent had not even started preparations.
She urged licensed financial advisory firms to step in and help improve this worrying situation.
Ms Ee said Singaporeans are also not always getting quality advice or recommended suitable products, and added that the MAS continues to get complaints about inappropriate advice.
"Many representatives still focus on pushing products and closing the next deal," said Ms Ee, who was speaking at the Association of Financial Advisers (Singapore) or Afas congress, held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Ms Ee said she hopes the industry will become one where financial advisers are viewed as professionals, "just like lawyers, engineers and accountants, with their own code of conduct and high standards of practice".
There was a mixed reaction to MAS' moves to raise industry standards, a campaign that has been underway for some time.