Panel to submit ideas on CPF next month

SINGAPORE - A 13-member panel looking into how the Central Provident Fund (CPF) can be improved is expected to submit its first set of recommendations to the Government early next month.

This was revealed by Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, chairman of the CPF advisory panel, yesterday after the 10th and final focus group discussion on three key issues.

These issues involve the size of the Minimum Sum, how much members should be able to withdraw in a lump sum at age 65, and if monthly payouts should keep up with rising costs of living.

More than 400 participants have made their views heard since the sessions started in November last year. The panel has also received about 150 written submissions.

One recurring suggestion, said Prof Tan, was to allow CPF members to put more money into their Minimum Sum in order to get a higher payout down the road.

The current Minimum Sum for those turning 55 before July this year is $155,000. Based on this amount, they get monthly payouts of $1,200 from age 65.

"We think this is something we should look carefully at," said Prof Tan, who is also president of the National University of Singapore.

He admitted that there were many diverse views on how to improve the system, but to fulfil them all could make the scheme too complicated. Instead, the key was to focus on CPF's core roles, and introduce more flexibility.

About 40 people attended yesterday's public session at the National Library Building.

Participant Triena Noeline Ong, 69, the director of a publishing firm, said the discussion led her to realise there was no one solution for everybody.

"There are many other aspects to consider, such as housewives who have no CPF," she said.

The next set of focus group discussions, on alternative investments and annuities which members can invest in using their CPF monies, will be held later this year.

This article was first published on Jan 11, 2015.
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