This questionnaire survey comprised a total of 10 opinion questions and ended by mapping some basic demographics of the respondents. The key findings of these questions are summarized below. Cross-references could be made with the frequency tables in Appendix II.
The survey began by asking all respondents, after being enrolled into the MPF scheme by their employer, whether they had informed the service provider on how to invest their MPF contribution. Results showed that a landslide majority of respondents (84%) gave an affirmative answer while only 16% said “no” (Table 3). For those respondents who had informed their service provider regarding the fund allocation, over half of the sub-sample had invested in “equity fund” (54%) while one-third chose “guaranteed fund” (34%). The next popular option was “mixed assets fund” (23%), followed at a distance by “bond fund” (11%). A small proportion had opted for “money market fund” and “pre-set asset allocation fund”, both accounting for 5%. Yet 7% of this sub-group did not remember what categories they had selected (Table 3a). See Figures 1 and 1a.
All respondents were then asked when they last reviewed their fund allocation. Of the 505 valid cases, one-third claimed that they had never made any revision (33%), while another one-third had done so “within the past 6 months” (32%). A respective of 12% and 19% last reviewed their portfolio “7-12 months ago” and “more than 1 year ago” (Table 4). For those who had reviewed their fund allocation before, they were further asked via what channels they made such reviews. Findings showed that the most commonly used channel was their “statement” (41%), followed by “online channels” which accounted for one-third of the sub-sample (34%). “In person at branch / outlet” and “hotline services” formed the next tier with respective usage rate of 12% and 8% (Table 4a). See Figures 2 and 2a.
MPF contribution and management
The survey continued by asking the respondents when they last talked to a financial planner about their retirement savings, including MPF. It is found that over half of the working people interviewed (52%) had never done so and 16% consulted a financial planner “within the past 6 months”. Another 6% did it “7-12 months ago” while 23% said “more than 1 year ago” (Table 5). See Figure 3.
On top of the mandatory contribution, only 10% of the MPF contributors made voluntary contributions, the remaining 89% did not and 1% failed to remember (Table 6). Among the 52 respondents who made voluntary contributions, taking an average, each of them contributed $1,233 more per month (standard error: $191), and the median obtained was $1,000. Specifically, 19% of these respondents made “less than $500” voluntary contribution a month, 23% contributed “$500 - $999” while 33% topped up “$1,000” more. The proportions for “$1,001 - $2,000”, “$2,001 - $3,000” and “$3,000 more” were 15%, 6% and 4% correspondingly (Table 6a). See Figures 4 and 4a.
When asked if they knew what a preserved account was, 43% of the total sample said “yes”, but only 37% knew the exact number of preserved accounts they had. On the other hand, 57% had no clue about it (Table 7). Of the 180 respondents who could tell how many preserved accounts they currently owned, including none, the average number was 1.08 (standard error: 0.06) and the majority of them had one (56%, Table 7a). See Figures 5 and 5a.
Factors in choosing fund and service provider
The survey went on to identify the most important factors used by the respondents when selecting their fund and service provider. As regards choosing a fund, results showed that respondents attached the greatest importance to the “fund performance that matched their target returns” (45%). It is followed by the risk involved as they would take into account if the “fund matched with their risk appetite” (27%). Product complexity and charges came next as a respective of 10% and 8% said “fund that was easy to understand” and “fund charged the lowest fees” was their major consideration. Finally, a small number of respondents would prefer to have “pre-set investment allocation” of a fund (3%, Table 8). See Figure 6.
Of the total sample, 80% expressed they would like to choose their own MPF provider if they had a choice whereas the remaining 20% would not (Table 9). See Figure 7.
Regarding the key factors in choosing an MPF provider, “brand and reputation” (47%) topped the list, closely followed by the “professional investment advice” provided (45%), “customer service” (40%) and “service fee level” (40%). Besides, 37% emphasized on the “range of funds” while 21% regarded “special offers/loyalty program/rewards” as the key factor when choosing their service provider (Table 10). See Figure 8.
Apart from the MPF scheme, were the respondents taking any other actions to plan ahead for their retirement? Of the 501 valid cases, 41% of them had no plan at all. Main reason was “they had no extra money” as cited by 24% of the sample. Another 8% wanted to but “did not know how” while 5% said they “felt MPF was sufficient” and 4% believed they “had enough money for their retirement”. A small proportion claimed “their family would support them” (1%). On the other hand, 56% of the respondents had other financial plans for their retirement, where 48% of them “bought insurance”, 40% and 39% invested in “mutual funds” and “stock market” respectively while 33% simply “to save more” in order to meet the retirement needs (Table 11 and 11a). See Figures 9 and 9a.
As the very last question of this survey, all respondents were asked to make a prediction on how many years their MPF funds could support their basic living expenses at retirement. Results showed that 27% were rather conservative by saying “less than 5 years”, 34% believed their MPF contribution could afford “5 to 10 years” after retirement, while a respective of 5% and 6% thought it would be sufficient for “11 to 15 years” and “more than 15 years”. Nonetheless, almost 30% of them (28%) failed to give a rough estimate. Overall speaking, excluding those invalid answers, respondents thought their MPF funds could support their living expenses at retirement for 7.6 years on average (standard error: 0.16 year, Table 12).