Awareness campaign to start on pensions

| 13/05/2016 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service

Employment Minister Tara Rivers in the LA, 4 May 2016

(CNS): Following some 50 amendments to the legislation surrounding Cayman’s mandatory, private sector pension regime, Employment Minister Tara Rivers said that the new law would come into effect gradually. While several of the sections will be implemented together, other sections will require a longer transition phase to allow for public education and for the administrators and the Department of Labout and Pensions (DLP) to amend their systems or procedures. The minister said that changes to the regulations also have to be completed before the controversial law can be fully enforced.

In a release from government detailing some of the major changes in the law, Rivers said an education campaign would be developed to help explain the new law and the significant changes, which include an increased retirement age and the management of records.

Although criticisms remain about the law, it received the full backing of all MLAs when it passed through the Legislative Assembly last week (5 May). But Rivers has admitted there is still a lot of work to do to address the numerous challenges that surround the compulsory regime.

“Given the multitude of issues which have plagued the system since inception, this is an important piece of legislation which aims to address, to a large extent, some of the long-standing concerns, such as a culture of non-compliance and a limited attention to the regulation of pension plans and plan providers,” Rivers said.

“Even though this is the first major review of and amendments to the National Pensions Law in roughly 20 years, this by no means represents the ‘end’ of the journey to improve the pensions regime for the benefit of pensioners, the hard-working men and women of this country. Progress has certainly been made with the adoption of this bill, but we all recognise that more work needs to be done, and the ministry is already working on amending key supporting pension regulations which are also outdated.”

Rivers said that during the public consultation process on the law, which lasted almost a year before the final draft of the bill was amended during the committee stage, it became clear there are still things to be addressed.

“The refinement of the pensions regime must be a regular work in progress,” she said. “It is unfortunate that almost 20 years have elapsed since the private sector pensions legislation has been revised in earnest to address the long-standing issues.”

The minster noted that government was committed to tackling the tough issues “This is one major step forward,” she added.

Despite the twelve month public consultation, the bill still has many critics and some expatriate workers, in particular, have raised concerns about access to the fund once they leave Cayman, with some accusing the government of stealing thier money as a result of the new rules surrounding transfer.

Rivers has defended that part of the legislation as a safeguard against future government dependency.

Under the new legislation, the cash paid into pensions by employers and workers can be transferred overseas after the employee has ceased working in Cayman and has been absent from the islands for two years. During the LA debate on the new law, Rivers said the change was to ensure those who leave permanently can transfer the money to another pensions fund but protect the fund of workers who return after a short-break for rollover or other reasons.

The previous law permitted refunds once contributions stopped for two years but the new law now provides for Cabinet to determine the date at which pension plan members will no longer be allowed to obtain a refund.

Following that date, refunds will only be available at the administrator’s discretion for less than CI$5,000, and where members reach 65 and can’t transfer their pension to an approved pension plan, retirement savings account, life annuity or similar plan. This policy shift was deemed necessary to minimise access to and depletion of pension benefits before retirement, leaving people dependent on government when they can no longer work.

CNS has contacted officials to obtain the final amended draft of the new law and will post as soon as it is received.

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  1. WaYaSay says:

    Tara Bush, i hope you burn in h@!!.
    Three weeks before my 60 birthday you pull this s@#!.
    I am a 7 generation Caymanian who has paid on more that $150,000.00 of my money into the compulsory pension scheme, taking the 6% option whenever it was available.
    I paid this in good faith knowing that when I turned 60 I Could start collecting my $1,000.00 per month…….not much but with this and the 6% increase in my salary, I could supplement my savings to help me when I retired for good at. 65.
    Now with your idiotic change in the law, Tara you are robbig my potential savings of $60,000.00 plus $30,000.00 in additional pensions for a grand total of $90,000.00 additional savings I would havd in the bank at 65.
    I am by no means destitute as I have invested my money over the years and live well within my means, however, I cannot help but wonder how much better off I would be, if Government had kept out of my business and my retirement and allowed me to invest that extra $240.000.00 myself or allowed me to add it to my savings.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Government allowed Caymanians to withdraw the pension points now to to signs of a failed reality market, just look at how much homes are for sale in cayman and how many individuals are loosing their homes because of high morgage rates with poor money management.
    The older people use to always say we can’t throw good money after bad ones.
    Those same Caymanians with drawing their pension now will end up losing their investment and have to depend to gov hand out in the future.
    Let’s face reality cayman is for the rich people who can afford to live here, ordinary people with a job can bearly keep the lights on and food in the fridge imagine how a retired or unemployed person must feel?

    We Caymanians created the new cayman of today because we wanted to attract the rich well guest what we have them in our midst yet we can’t keep up with them.

    The middle class is no more. Just the rich and working class poor.
    This is my last post in regards to this issue with seems to be getting worse instead of better.
    Let’s not fool our selves the sweet Cayman we grew up in has gone. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We have two options stay and suffer or leave to find better.

    A passionate Cayman.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Too late Tara, I am on the way out!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The whole idea of mandatory private pensions is just stupid. What give our government the right to obligate me to save my retirement money with a private company who gives me no guarantees? It is beyond words of how unfair this is to transient workers.

    The only entity that we should empower with such an important thing like our retirement survival asset is our government. So it should either be some type of Government social security or nothing and transient workers should be excluded from our plan since their plan is in their home country, and that is not our problem.

    The actuarial calculations written into the pension law was done at a time when there was an illusion of clear advantages in proportioning equity and non-equity investments, but that ended when the internet bubble burst. You people that we elected need to wake up since many people have retired in the decades since then and the pensions that they receive has made a mockery of the promise of law.

    You have written into law our retirement future based on the concept of gambling, also know as equity investing. Now you want to tell everyone that we must trust a select group of lousy gamblers. Now you want to make it harder for anyone to exit, especially transient workers. I thought gambling was illegal here.

    The current group of elected officials are one of the most educated and experienced that we have ever had in our government. Put those minds, that training and experience to work to build a better society for all people, not just a better country for some people. Abandon this pension law with private pensions and put in place the Department of Pensions who will invest in and care for our people. We will carry the financial burden if those private pensions fail anyway, so why not fund that risk correctly.

  5. Anonymous says:

    there should be a campaign against tara…….

  6. Allar says:

    I don’t blame Tara, appear to do something.after next election she will leave after getting the boot and she will just be a want to be. Bye in advance Tara, I voted for you the last time and never again

    • Anonymous says:

      Scary thing is she is in office for one more year…look at all the damage she can do…she toots her own horn, hasn’t done anything for the past three years..oh yea implemented the minimum wage which drove up veendor’s costs…..good job tara

    • Anonymous says:

      Then who?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I would have thought it made better sense to try and keep at least some of the expat pension in cayman. Millions of dollars each year is poured into pension from cayman companies with their 5% contribution. That’s millions of caymans money going overseas and the added burden of some companies struggling to make the 5%. If the government needs money stick a police officer on the road after 10pm and start ticketing bad drivers!

  8. Anonymous says:

    My small self directed stock portfolio is up over 275% over the last 5 years. My “pension” account (more like a Christmas club, really) is DOWN by over 7.9% in the same time frame. What is the “benefit” of allowing incompetent a$$es to “manage” my “pension account” and lose money for me versus me investing and managing myself for multiple large GAINS on my funds? This is legislative mandated grand theft on a massive scale! Pirates indeed…

    • Anonymous says:

      Great – now give us working locals some tips (ps- I know there is no shortage of investment advice in Cayman, but few blue collars can afford it).
      We can share it with the Pension Companies – or at least hold them more accountable.

      • anonymous says:

        the pension regulations completely handicap the pension plans from getting those kinds of gains. The regulations require certain asset allocations, and minimize the types of investments that can be held. Bermuda pensions are much better off as they moved to “prudent man” investing – which is where we need to go asap. What is the point in paying for investment managers when you then ask them to do their job with 2 hands tied behind their back?

  9. SSM345 says:

    Thieving gypsies.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Please resign now Tara you are a mess

  11. Anonymous says:

    going after Expats and going after Caymanian who become Europeans (e.g. British) and decide to leave their own country and move to where they can take their pensions and to buy houses and investments overseas. In fact,it is going after workers a clear theme of this government.

    The pension (industry) complains about this saying we can’t get a return because these people keep taking their money out so that is why we can’t make a return.

    The government’s experts say yes, this is legitimate along with the expats this money is going out and needs to be invested.

    That may be true., but what the pension fund don’t say is that it is because we have too many pension funds with too high overheads and too little amount of pensioner and they (their profits) are not being regulated so it is a feast on our pensions.

    So, the government needed to look at this comprehensively and not just from one angle. Unfortunately, most likely, the will of the people has been ignored and the will of the company has been observed.

    However, if government forced all the pension funds to consolidate or nationalized the process then all the pension administrator jobs would be out the window and then the labour minister (same person) would not be getting jobs. So, expats and Caymanian wanting to leave for a better future and all the other wanting better returns on your investments must just suffer and watch your returns go away. THE STOCK MARKET IS NOT THE PROBLEM THE CHARTS ARE VERY CLEAR IT IS THE PENSION PROVIDERS AND THE FEES.

    I am waiting on the day for the Government…..this makes you wonder why Cayman which they say mocks the UK does not have a financial ombudsman or other department of government lawyers to go after infractions by corporations. If Cayman was really serious about revenue like the PPM think we need it would be ideal to open up this type of office (ICTA your the best) and start slapping fees. Take note of how the SEC just pulled out $3 million for CNB and $7 million for another bank, If you think, that we could plug our budget problems real fast on the backs of people that give us a bad name you think again.

    But., Gov’t refuses to do it and looks at pensions like an industry,,,wish regulation would become an industry..,tired of them building off the backs of labour. Seizing criminal assets (financial criminals) will give us a good name not a bad one. And, then when you go overseas to talk about how CAYMAN is clean you can show them with examples not just cheap talk

    • Anonymous says:

      Surprise! Caymanians are British. And you wonder why these islands are a mess, you don’t even know your own nationality.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Her reasoning is so off, she says the refund is no longer acceptable so expats don’t come back and become a burden of the state.

    But the only way to be to stay here until your 65, is to get PR, which due to changes PPM made is now much harder and you already have to have around 250k invested in property here.

    So only the wealthy, who can afford to retire in Cayman, are allowed to stay. The average expatriate will never retire in Cayman and never become a burden of the state.

    As she already knows all this, she must know she is lying in her statement. They are obviously other intentions for this amendment which are far more sinister….

    • Anonymous says:

      Although criticisms remain about the law, it received the full backing of all MLAs when it passed through the Legislative Assembly last week (5 May). But Rivers has admitted there is still a lot of work to do to address the numerous challenges that surround the compulsory regime.

      The first line scares me..criticisms remain about the law, but yet it received full backing….are we missing something here????

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes. You are missing a bunch of money

      • Jah Dread is back says:

        6:00 pm, what we are missing is Politicians Who are able to think critically, we obviously don’t have any. Remember they pass Laws without reading them and turn around years later and say oh that was not the intention of the law, how shameful. Some of them surf on line during proceedings ( see clip on the last PAC Commitee meeting and nary a question on the matters at hand), others snooze through the proceedings,while others are incessantly texting on their high priced phones.

        Old voters and especially young voters please pay attention to the qualities of the people who will stand in the next election, they must be able to “think”, they must be able to “research” and come up with sound debate. They must have an educated and experienced background in problem solving, proper English, law abiding, conscientious and loyal to the people they represent. They must ask you the voters for your opinion on matters of national importance and not go off nilly silly because they have a Cabinet position.

        This is not the time to elect feel good talk good politicians our survival as a people is at risk . Vote sensibly in 2017 Cayman, it could be your last chance for survival in this rat race .

  13. Anonymous says:

    The pensions are being systematically stolen. Try and do anything with yours and you will find out what I mean.
    God help the expats who have been robbed in broad daylight.

  14. Anonymous says:

    How would an expat EVER become dependent on government? If you don’t have a work permit you have no right to be here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Easy. Thousands now are (if you count children). It is because various government departments have their own definitions of who is Caymanian and who is allowed to be here, and politicians interfere,

      • Anonymous says:

        So who is responsible for that? Hint…CIG

      • Anonymous says:

        What a lie, the children of one Caymanian parent included as expats, too funny.

        To be on a work permit in Cayman with 1 child the expat has to be earning around 80k, and still will not be able to afford to get PR.

        Personally having huntingdon’s disease, my life expectancy is 55, so what use is this change to me, now I can’t receive the money until I am dead

        • Anonymous says:

          If a foreign national has children, they are foreign nationals. If that foreign national marries a Caymanian, those foreign national children, and ( for at least 7 years) their parent, are still foreign nationals. They are not Caymanian and are not entitled to all the free benefits available to Caymanians. That is not a lie but the truth. That they are all being given the full benefits as if they are Caymanian is also not a lie, but the truth.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, to be a work permit holder with a child you have to earn 42K.

    • Diogenes says:

      They are roped in to subsidise the costs of running local pension companies on a small island, instead of people buying one overseas from companies who spread the administration costs across a lot more people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh really. Then how did hundreds or even thousands of children move here from foreign countries after their parents were granted cabinet status?
      They did not have work permits, nor did most of their parents have the money to sustain them. They did not miraculously become Caymanian because one of their parents did.

  15. Anonymous says:

    She’s the reason more Cayman people will be “untrainable” or UNEMPLOYED!! One shouldnt have TO neglect their own people for money, fame, social acceptance or “disguised survival” to enhance trifling effects on the community.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The Governor did not sign off on this bill yet it is still not law.
    Why the big rush??????

  17. Anonymous says:

    Set a law to stop the money being transferred out of the local banks by the millions to avoid bein seized by th Us ,UK and Europe for tax dodgers.
    Egyptian Caymanian mentality at it’s best.
    You can’t stop what us about to happen Tara Rivers. !!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Educated beyond intelligence? What makes her an expert?

  19. Anonymous says:

    “Rivers has defended that part of the legislation as a safeguard against future government dependency.”

    Show me one case where there has been government dependency because an expat left, collected their pension, moved back and became destitute and dependent on the government.

    You know how you prevent that? Refuse one work permit over the course of the 9 years after the person returns. Or refuse PR. Simple.

    That explanation is either a 100% lie or she is a complete idiot. (or both). This has nothing to do with safeguarding against having an expat become dependent on the government social services.

    – Isme

    • Anonymous says:

      Seeing as pensions are typically a very long term investment, missing 7-9 years of investment has a pretty big impact on the total pension that would be realised at the end of it. I doubt many people would be in the situation as described, but I do know of a couple who left after 4 years to re-set the clock, came back, and are working towards PR. Besides, show me one country that has a mandatory pensions law that allows you to cash it in before retirement age.

      I do believe we should have more options on how you manage your pension funds, I would be in favour of self invested pensions where I get to choose the investments held, but in general I believe in putting money aside for when I stop working,

      • Anonymous says:

        If they are applying for PR, then they have to be already wealthy to even qualify.

        For the 95% of other expats PR is a pipe dream. Caymanians and the government have made it clear they don’t want to us be here more than a few years, so no the major majority will not stay in Cayman or retire here.

        Oddly though the new law allows Caymanians who will retire in Cayman to withdraw their funds, thus making caymanians as burdens of the state down the road.

        It won’t be long until the Government ban the transfer of pensions to overseas pensions, keeping it all in Cayman where it will then be used to fund all those Caymanians that withdrew their pension funds and can only afford retirement by stealing expats pensions.

        Cayman the most unchristian nation posing as devout christians.

        what a nation of hypocrites.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m with Isme. The CI Govt can prevent an expat who leaves and then returns from being a “burden” merely by refusing a work permit or just plain not granting PR. This government has made it clear that it wont grant PR to anyone.
      Part of the social contract with CIG of working here was that we could receive a refund of the monies contributed to our personal pension schemes if we wanted it after we left. Some people see this money as a pension, some people see this as a down deposit when they do finally leave for whatever reason, some people will just spend it on whatever as soon as they can receive it. That, to me at least, is beside the point.
      The CIG has changed the social contract with no consultation and certainly with no consent. There appears to be no concept of only applying this to new monies contributed which would be the fairest method.
      What comes next when the CIG realises it wont be able to fund pensions in 10 years? Appropriation of the expat pension schemes altogether with no refunds or any payments ever? Appropriation of real estate of expats? Slippery. Slope.

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