Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Protestors demand pension fund data along with reform

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Details on investments made by public pension funds should be published as part of comprehensive pension reform, members of the Military, Civil Servants and Teachers Alliance Party said yesterday in a protest outside the Ministry of Finance building in Taipei.

“Stop using the Civil Servant Pension Fund (退撫基金) to prop up the stock market,” party Deputy Chairman Wang Hsin-chang (王新昌) said.

“While the fund can be used to make reasonable stock investments, it should not be used to attempt to fill a black hole,” he said.

Although the fund has long been used as an instrument of financial policy, it was not clear what investments had been made and what gains or losses had been realized, he said.

“Investments should be transparent so that everyone who contributes to the fund knows where the money goes and what the results are,” he said, adding that poor investment choices, rather than high pension benefits, were why the fund was facing bankruptcy.

He also called for statistics about public pension benefit levels to be published, adding that the Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) had “cherry-picked” examples of unreasonable benefits.

While Chang has said that the monthly retirement income received by his wife, a former middle-school teacher, exceeded her previous monthly salary, the composition and calculation of her benefits was unclear, he said, calling on Chang to either clarify or take back his statements.

Wang added that while party members would accept some benefit reductions given the fund’s financial situation, the government needed to provide a clear formula by which benefits would be reduced and should not just focus on the pensions of military personnel, civil servants and teachers in enacting pension reform.

Pension benefits for the three groups have come under criticism over a reportedly higher “replacement ratio” relative to beneficiaries’ salaries compared with pension benefits offered by the government to the general population.

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