Friday, October 14, 2011

The Pension Report Card

Thanks to input from a reader (anon@October 13, 2011 4:03 PM), we know how Singapore is ranked according to the Global Pension Index 2011. The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index compares retirement income systems around the world and rates them based on their adequacy, sustainability and integrity.

The following table shows how Singapore fared when compared to 15 other countries:

The Singaporean index value fell from 59.6 in 2010 to 56.7 in 2011 due to a reduction in each of the three sub-indexes, including "Adequacy", which carries a weighting of 40 percent . The Adequacy sub-index represents the benefits that are currently being provided, such as "Benefits", "Savings", "Tax Support", "Benefit Design", and "Growth Assets", all of which must sound Greek to the average Singaporean. The people who are enjoying these benefits seem to be in the top income tax bracket.

The report attributed the fall in index value to 56.7 in 2011 to several reasons: a lower net household saving rate, reduced pension coverage and the effect of some new investment rules. Let's hope the last bit does not refer the games that GIC and Temasek plays with our CPF.

Grade C (index value 50–65) is given to a system that has some good features, but also has major risks and/or shortcomings that should be addressed. Without these improvements, its efficacy and/or long-term sustainability are questionable.

Interestingly, mention is made of common challenges in flaky retirement income systems which include "Reducing the leakage from the retirement savings system prior to an individual’s retirement". Oh yes, we recognise the leak to the HDB coffers, but how to plug it?

Here's how the country stands in the overall scores:

1  Netherlands - 77.9
2  Australia - 75.0
3  Switzerland - 72.7
4  Sweden - 72.6
5  Canada - 69.1
6  United Kingdom - 66.0
7  Chile - 64.9
8  Poland - 58.6
9  Brazil - 58.4
10  United States - 58.1
11  Singapore - 56.7
12  France - 54.4
13  Germany - 54.2
14  Japan - 43.9
15  India - 43.4
16  China - 42.5
It looks like the Swiss standard of living is still a long way to go.


  1. I believe that the Emeritus SM said we have already, in the 1990s, surpassed the Swiss Standard of perhaps 200 years ago?

  2. I think ESM must be referring to ministers' salaries having surpassed the Swiss standard!

  3. I say people should go occupy cpf building and not raffles place, until they really hear our voices. It affects everyone from young to old so anyone can relate to.

  4. Remember ESM said there is no such thing as total happiness! Unhappiness (the citizens) plus this who are happier (the Ministers) equals NET HAPPINESS. No such thing as total happiness (Swiss standard of living for all), don't believe in it!

  5. Yes, we are definately far far away from the Swiss standard. Its good that our ESM hope to achieve that standard but someone forget to tell him that Swiss is standing idle waiting for Singapore. However we can claim that our minister pay is the highest in the world and we are proud of it!

  6. Correction! Swiss is NOT standing idle......

  7. Occupy CPF Building? A few brave Singaporeans have already done that in 2005.

  8. The best thing to do
    is to do nothing.
    Just keep your distance
    away from the schemers
    and shenanigans.
    Maybe best to show them
    You despise them and
    that You will not look
    at them.


  9. patriot, are you describing a coward? lol

  10. What happiness? For a country that likes to be #1 in everything, they don't even dare to be listed on OECD Better Life Index. Know why? Yep your correct guess is my correct guess!

  11. Singapore is not a member of OECD. Nevertheless I'm curious to see how it would rank if it were.

  12. Honestly, me believes there will be no impact in 'occupying Raffles Place'. Just to follow what is happening in the US now will not yield anything significant.
    There will be more participants sometimes down the road when more people face problems cause by policy implementations. NOW, the people have yet to be affected to a level where and when they 'tak boleh tahan'(cannot bear it anymore). However, more will face rising difficulty as the economy falters.
    Any event with a purpose must bear the intended result and has the impact to show that it is not done for nothing or worse a failure. If it manages only to garner crowd liked those at Speaker Corner which me attended many times, it will be wasted effort.
    Me thinks there will be a better time for it and meanwhile netizens can gather and highlight more hardships cause by poor/bad policies, malpractices in the market place and unethical deeds of professionals.

    Participation in an event such as 'occupying Raffles Place' is not going to make anyone a hero, as such me does not see cowardice relevant here.

    That is how i see it.

    My apology to anyone who finds my earlier comment distasteful.