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公共年金尚未解答的問題

公共年金尚未解答的問題
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「香港年金計劃」將在 7 月 19 日開始登記認購意向,為期三週。它將對認購的長者帶來長遠影響,儘管政府設置網站解釋,但魔鬼永遠在細節。一個好的公司管治不等於一間好的公司,港鐵就是一個例子。一些有待澄清的細節可能是數十年之後的法治爭拗,台灣的年金改革法案所引起的激烈抗議是另一例子。

其一,按證公司執行董事余偉文曾向傳媒表示按證公司會包底,所有的媒體都如此報導,「金管局總裁陳德霖昨表示,一旦投資回報達不到年金保證,即介乎 3厘至 4厘的要求,按揭證券公司會負責包底。」,但我們找不到一份官方文件有此承諾。最近的是金管局在7月5日的新聞稿

《公共年金由按揭證券公司管理,外匯基金負責投資-----香港年金公司主席兼執行董事、香港金融管理局(金管局)總裁陳德霖先生表示﹕「金管局全力支持和配合香港年金計劃,除了提供所需資本,亦為香港年金公司收到的保費作投資管理,務求取得穩定的長遠投資回報,為香港年金計劃的財務可行性和可持續性提供堅實的基礎。香港年金計劃除了可為香港市民退休時提供一個吸引的退休財務安排外,亦可以促進香港年金市場的進一步發展。」》

它當中所指的「提供所需資本」是否只涉及初創時的資本?這也不清楚。公共年金無可質疑是政府推出的產品,

《香港年金公司的唯一股東為香港按揭證券有限公司(其所有股份均由香港財政司司長以外匯基金管理人身份實益擁有)。》,但政府沒有責任保證其所有推出的產品都成功,而且,它是有限公司註冊,母公司不用上身的。

迄今為止,最重要的文件是其「企業管治守則」,但這份文件沒有中文版。為何?

「企業管治守則」

當中值得注意的有幾點(註1)。

第一,它開宗明義表明,其董事會是取終負責人。

The Board is ultimately accountable and responsible for the performance and affairs of the Company.

第二,財政司委任其董事會成員,但如何委任,不明?

第三,它只提及其母公司(即香港按揭證券公司)4次,其中與討論相關的只有,「內部審計部門應獨立客觀地運作,母公司為履行集團職能,有權而對其推行審計」。

《The internal audit function should operate independently and objectively and may be performed by that of the Company’s parent company as a group function. 》

第四,它雖然有風險管理和內部審計,但在強積金中最核心的問題──管理費過高,則沒有觸及。

未來的批次如何?

其二,它沒有保證每年登記認購。這可以是政治風險,即朝令暮改。梁振英留下的林鄭也不是全收的。這是非民主選舉的特點。

它也可以是經濟風險,雖然歐盟2012年老年化報告(註2),表示,老年化同時表示更多勞動力,未必是壞事。

《However, the drop in mortality at all ages also leads to a larger labour force, which might therefore also increase GDP and pension contributions》

但,未來的政府可能發覺這計劃搵自己笨,限制其發展,導致其營運費不斷升高。

立法會監管

其三,立法會是唯一的憲法賦權公民質詢政府的地方。但這關乎退休保障的計劃却繞過立法會,正如當年雷曼事件,只有爆鑊的時候,立法會議員才介入。這顯然是不理想的安排。

事實上,公共年金計劃減輕了政府在處理退休問題的壓力,政府應該提供經濟誘因,最合理的方法是,立法會通過一個承擔,給香港公共年金有限公司一個保障。

通脹掛勾

公共年金計劃表明有通脹風險(註3)。由於通脹的長遠走勢是向上升,它有很大機會在十多年後高於4%,比目前的年金內部回報率的4%為高。

如何估算20年後的平均通脹和長者壽命是關鍵的數字。以平均通脹為3%,17年後,高額長者生活津貼已超今天一百萬年金回報的$5800。所以總有一天,公共年金將成為嘲笑對象。

因而,還是羅致光本人交給「香港退休保障的未來發展」的「在回報率方面,羅博士建議應與通脹掛鈎,並保證年金以1%實質回報計算。………若投資回報高於保證回報,餘額的一半以分紅形式給付參加者,另一半撥入基金,作為穩定長遠發展之用。」為佳。

Due diligence

基於以上,羅致光在推出公共年金計劃是否符合「盡職盡責」的公務員原則呢?可能有需要多些解釋。

精算

所有保險計劃都是由精算結果主導的。它們通常分設為最佳、一般和最差的三個場景。我們不知金管局是否手緊。若設計過於保守,則應派多點錢,益吓基層。私營保險公司不可能公開其精算報告,但作為公共利益的長期保險業務,政府應該提供這透明度。

討論

持有一百萬現金而不參加年金計劃的現年65歲人士,可按每月5800派給自已至80歲。試問,屆時這個政府可以不管一個80歲公民的養老服務嗎? 那時,他還會花錢和照顧自己嗎? 在推出公共年金計劃後,政府還需要對全民的退休計劃提供一個可行和合理的方案,並且落實。

備註

註一

HKMC ANNUITY LIMITED CORPORATE GOVERNANCE CODE

The Board is ultimately accountable and responsible for the performance and affairs of the Company. Except for the first Directors, all Directors (one or more of whom may be designated to be Executive Directors) should be appointed by the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong in accordance with the Articles of Association of the Company. The system of internal controls has a key role in the management of risks and fulfillment of the Company’s business objectives. A sound system of internal controls contributes to safeguarding shareholders’ investment and the Company’s assets. External Auditors Save for the appointment of the first external auditors, appointment of external auditors is a matter for the Audit Committee, subject to endorsement by the Board and final approval by the shareholders in general meeting.

B.4 External Reporting Part C –

Internal Controls and Risk Management

C.1 Internal Controls and Risk Management Process The internal audit function should operate independently and objectively and may be performed by that of the Company’s parent company as a group function. The PBO prohibits, among other things, the abuse of entrusted powers or official position by public servants or agents through the solicitation or acceptance of advantages. The Company’s parent company is, and the Company may be, designated as a public body under the PBO. Where the Company is designated as a public body under the PBO, Directors may be regarded as “public servants”3 and come within the definition of “agents” for the purposes of the PBO. Hence, Directors may be subject to the prohibitions under the PBO and should take note of the provisions of the PBO on the acceptance of advantages in particular. A Director should always consider public perception when accepting an offer of an advantage and ensure that the solicitation or acceptance of any advantages can stand up to public scrutiny and will not bring the Company, the Company’s parent company or any associate company of the Company to disrepute. Directors should not accept lavish, or unreasonably generous or frequent entertainment, or any entertainment which is likely to give rise to any potential or real conflict of interests, put the Directors under an obligation in the discharge of their duties, compromise their impartiality or judgement, or bring them or the Company, the Company’s parent company or any associate company of the Company into disrepute bearing in mind public perception.

註二

The 2012 Ageing Report

Economic and budgetary projections for the 27 EU Member States (2010-2060)

Latvia, Poland, Sweden and Norway: The NDC pension systems in Latvia, Poland, Sweden and Norway work on an actuarial basis. At the time of retirement an annuity is calculated by dividing the individual’s account value by a divisor reflecting life expectancy at the specific date of retirement. An increase in life expectancy reduces the annual benefit so that the present value of total expected pension benefits is nearly invariant to changes in the cohort’s remaining life expectancy and the individual’s retirement age. In general, the individual can counteract the negative effect on the annuity caused by increasing life expectancy by postponing the date of retirement, i.e. strong incentives to prolong the working career

Higher life expectancy

An increase in life expectancy (of 1 year at birth by 2060) would result in a higher level of public pension expenditure. As people live longer, they are receiving pension benefits for a longer time span, which has an increasing spending effect. However, the drop in mortality at all ages also leads to a larger labour force, which might therefore also increase GDP and pension contributions. Assuming higher life expectancy, the increase of the pension-to-GDP ratio in the EU27 on average would be almost +0.3 p.p. (see Graph 2. 15). The lowest reaction to a change in life expectancy is projected for Latvia (+0.1 p.p. of GDP), the strongest effect is recorded for Slovenia (+0.6 p.p.). In general, the size of reaction to life expectancy depends on the scheme design. In countries where the annuity explicitly depends on life expectancy at retirement or where automatic stabilizers of spending are built into the system to compensate for some fiscal imbalances (e.g. the sustainability factors in Germany, Finland, Italy, Portugal and Sweden), the effect seems to be less pronounced. On the contrary, the impact is larger in countries without any adjustment mechanism to life expectancy or with a large level of pension expenditure in 2060.

註三

6. 通貨膨脹風險

通貨膨脹或會令生活成本上升,導致你現時計劃的利益未能應付你的未來需要。由於保證每月年金金額是在保單開始時訂定,並將在你有生之年期間維持不變,如實際通脹率比預期為高,你實際所得的利益或會較少。

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