Life-Cycle Savings and Investing in Asia Research Series

We started this research series in July 2011 with the aim of identifying and proposing logical, scientific and rational solutions to the retirement savings and investment problems that many Asian nations, including Singapore, face. We believe that innovative and thoughtful applied research, presented in a form that is accessible to the lay person, can make a difference to the lives of many in the region. Our thought leadership pieces and the student-built Real Retirement Fund Calculator have been presented at various academic and industry forums around the world, and have been featured in leading Singapore newspapers such as The Business Times, The Edge and The Straits Times. Since the Series’ launch we have published 6 thought leadership papers on Retirement Finance, coupled with numerous presentations at various forums, conferences and events around the world, particularly in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and the United States.

High fees fleece CPF members of investment returns
In a commentary, Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) says financial advisers are eating into their clients’ savings in the CPF Investment Scheme. One of his recommendations is for CPF members to adopt the upcoming Lifetime Retirement Investment Scheme, which keeps fees to a minimum. He also recommends that financial advisers be held to a high fiduciary standard.
The Business Times (Monday, 26 February 2018)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: just improve it
In a commentary, Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) suggests ways to improve social security savings systems including prioritising on savings and medical expenses, allowing for withdrawals for severe emergencies, and ensuring pay-outs meet retirees’ basic lifelong expenses.
Asia Asset Management (Monday, 11 September 2017)

Embracing the winds of change
Commenting on the factors behind a good pension fund structure, Practice Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) says the programme needs to provide the pay out to help the average retiree maintain their standard of living.
Asia Asset Management (Wednesday, 7 June 2017)

Your retirement nest egg
In a feature on the new investment plans introduced by the CPF Advisory Panel, Practice Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) says inflation-linked annuity plans are gaining popularity worldwide. He adds that the Lifetime Retirement Investment Scheme is suitable for CPF members who are new to investing or lack the resources to actively manage investments.
Channel NewsAsia (Saturday, 13 August 2016)

CPF review panel

Coverage on CPF review panel (Mediacorp Channel 5 on Toggle online, 3 August 2016)
CPF review panel calls for simpler long-term investment options (TODAY, 4 August 2016)
Simpler investment scheme to grow retirement nest egg (The Straits Times, 4 August 2016)
Recommendation Of Choosing CPF Life (Berita Harian, 4 August 2016)
Easier to invest with lifetime retirement investment scheme (Berita Harian, 4 August 2016)
Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI), a member of the CPF Advisory Panel, says many retirement plans around the world have made moves to simplify investment choices that have an automated “de-risking” programme.

Financing retirement needs by extracting housing equity
In a panel discussion on lifecycle financing for ageing populations, Prof Joseph Cherian, Director of CAMRI, says a credible party like the government should be the one taking up the tail risks, such as when seniors outlive the leases of their homes.
The Business Times (Thursday, 14 July 2016)

Include GIC returns when determining CPF interest rate? (The Straits Times, 12 Jan 2016)
Use GIC returns as component in CPF OA rate: NUS prof (The Business Times, 12 Jan 2016)
Bridging CPF gaps NUS don raises idea of payouts, but notes risks (Today, 13 Jan 2016)
Scholars Think That CPF Deposit Interest Rate Should Be Linked With GIC’s Rate (Lianhe Zaobao, 13 Jan 2016)
Include GIC returns when determining CPF interest rate? (Asiaone, 14 Jan 2016)
Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) was quoted in a commentary where he voiced concerns on the importance of ensuring a person’s retirement income was “safe, adjusted for inflation and guaranteed”.

Call for GIC to invest CPF in local stocks stirs debate (The Business Times, 8 Jan 2016)
Singapore companies need more help to cope with challenging environment: SBF (Channel News Asia, 6 Jan 2016)
Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) was quoted in a report on Singapore Business Federation’s decision to use Central Provident Fund monies to invest in the Singapore stock market.

Singapore Tonight: Changes to CPF system
A ‘live’ interview with CPF Advisory Panel member Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) on the various changes recommended by the panel.
Channel NewsAsia (Tuesday, 17 Feb 2015)

Talkback: The CPF Advisory Panel’s first batch of recommendations
A ‘live’ interview with CPF Advisory Panel member Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) on the group’s recommendations. Prof Cherian also took calls from listeners.
938Live (Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015)

Exercise withdrawal option with care, says panel (Today, 5 Feb 2015)
How much does one need to retire? The answer varies greatly (Today, 5 Feb 2015)
Articles feature interviews with CPF Advisory Panel member Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) on the panel’s recommendations, which have been accepted by the Government.

针对改善公积金退休保障 人力部将办四场讨论会 (Lianhe Zaobao)
改善公积金制度 人力部邀公众讨论 (MyPaper – Chinese)
Members of the public have been invited to join a series of focus group discussions on enhancements to the CPF system. Articles mention that Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) is a member of the CPF Advisory Panel.

CPF untuk apa? Naik haji? Pelaburan sendiri? Penggunaan bijak usia senja?
More coverage of the advisory panel set up by the Ministry of Manpower to study possible improvements to the CPF system. Article mentions that Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) is on the panel.
Berita Harian Singapore (Saturday, 20 September 2014)

Singaporeans’ puzzling behaviour at age 55
by Sumit Agarwal (Research Director, CAMRI), Jessica Pan And Wenlan Qian
The Straits Times (Thursday, 11 September 2014)

The CPF: Making a Good Programme Even Better
by Joseph Cherian and Danny Yong (August 2014)
This article was carried by IPS Commons

Various issues were raised at the Institute of Policy Studies’ Forum on CPF and Retirement Adequacy held on Tuesday, 22 July 2014, which featured Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin. Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI), one of the panellists, felt that there is need to keep CPF funds for retirement and other uses separate, to reduce the temptation of tapping on one’s retirement savings. Ways to reform the CPF system were also discussed at the forum. Various media and TV outlets featured comments, suggestions & views from Joe Cherian about the CPF scheme, as well as on issues in the ongoing public debate over the scheme (as of 1 August 2014)

TalkBack: Retirement savings and how CPF can serve Singaporeans better
An interview with Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) on the factors to consider when saving for retirement and how the CPF system can be enhanced. Prof Cherian also fielded questions from listeners.
938Live (Wednesday, 28 May 2014)

How much does it cost to retire?
A radio interview with Joseph Cherian, Director of CAMRI, on Business FM 89.9 in Malaysia. The interview covered financial planning for seniors, the importance of saving for retirement from an early age, and the retirement savings situation in Malaysia and Singapore. Other topics discussed included financial literacy for seniors/retirees and the role of government in national social security savings schemes, especially in ensuring that citizens invest appropriately & safely for retirement over their lifecycle.
The Bigger Picture Program, Business FM 89.9 (Thursday, 26 September 2013)

It Figures: Your home, your nest egg?
This episode examined whether the purchase of HDB flats and the appreciation of prices would pay off in one’s silver years, given that Singapore has one of the highest home-ownership rates in the world. Features comments from Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI).
Channel NewsAsia (Tuesday, 3 September 2013)

“Rethinking the Asset Allocation Approach for Plan Sponsors”, Pranay Gupta and Sven Skallsjo, January 2013
Abstract
Most plan sponsors formulate a single long term asset allocation for their assets, and then spend a great deal of effort to select a number of active managers within each silo of asset class or style. This process, they hope, combines their top down asset class return expectations (beta) with alpha from a diversified set of external active managers. This structure however ignores the fact that the single most important decision responsible for the risk and performance of the plan is the asset allocation decision, which remains as an undiversified single decision, is in many cases outsourced or done with minimal internal resources, and is the primary cause of many plans having funding gaps. Authors argue that the traditional plan sponsor asset allocation process needs to be redesigned, with the maximum amount of effort being directed to this compared to other activities. This paper proposes that a multi-strategy structure should be implemented for plan sponsor asset allocation, using a range of approaches. Different views and methodologies will therefore reduce the plan’s exposure to a single point of failure, and provide diversification where it’s needed most.

A savings strategy from Singapore
Features a full-length interview in New York with Prof Joseph Cherian, Director at CAMRI, on how inflation-linked bonds and inflation-linked annuities can help both US and Asian retirement savers have a more worry-free, secure and comfortable life in retirement.
Wall Street Journal MarketWatch (Tuesday, 16 April 2013)

Inflation indexing missing in CPF Life
Commentary from Prof Joseph Cherian, Director at CAMRI, on why government inflation-indexed bonds are a necessity, well-designed reverse mortgages are helpful to retirees, and how CPF Life (an extant life retirement annuity) can be improved further with an inflation-indexing feature.
The Straits Times (Tuesday, 2 April 2013)