Miller argues alternative to pension withdrawals

| 27/04/2020 | 41 Comments
Cayman News Service
MLA Ezzard Miller in the LA on Thursday

(CNS): MLA Ezzard Miller (NS) has proposed an alternative to allowing people to access their pension funds as a way of injecting cash into the economy to battle the financial fallout from the COVID-19 panic. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, Miller said that while he supports the pension holiday he is the only MLA who does not support the cash withdrawals because he supports investing all the pension funds combined into the Cayman economy.

Miller said that pensions are already inadequate in the absence of a national scheme, and allowing people to make cash withdrawals now would be a short-term feast followed by famine.

Instead, he proposed that all of the funds should be deposited here and invested in local banks under a 15-year agreement. Then the banks would be able to fund employers to pay the salaries of all their workers through a low cost commercial loan programme. He said this would enable the business community to keep their payrolls going and the pensions intact.

Miller warned that the government was setting itself up for a major problem in the future if people have even more meager pensions than they would have done.

Although he does not support the withdrawals, he nevertheless questioned why the fund administrators need 45 days to make the payout, because if the point of this move is to allow those now in desperate need to get the cash, he asked who was going to support them over the next six or seven weeks.

Miller said the quick cash, lump sum money might seem attractive and a reasonable solution, but as a solution it is “fraught with problems” and in the long run it would make matters worse. Whereas, with the loss of tourism Cayman will need money to restore the domestic economy, and will therefore need cheap loans to create new pillars, such as food production. He said that using pension plans to finance local loans would help Caymanians develop new businesses and innovative ways to redevelop the local economy.

However, Miller was a lone voice in the Legislative Assembly; all of the other members supported the amendments. Premier Alden McLaughlin described the move to allow people access to their pensions as a “collective effort” on behalf of government and the opposition. As he wrapped up the debate on the matter, the premier made no comment about Miller’s alternative proposal.

See Ezzard Miller’s contribution to the debate in the LA on CIGTV below:

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Category: Economy, Laws, Politics

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman pension plan is just plain crap. They take your money and then let you have 12k a year max. The stupidest plan in the world.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My pension plan in the US is at Fidelity. It’s was a company plan I converted to an individual retirement account when I retired. There are no fees. I can buy anything in the stock market including any mutual fund.The commission on trades is zero. There is no charge to wire withdrawals to my bank. That takes about 10 minutes. Over the past 10 years it increased 10-18% every single year. This year it went down 25% from its all-time high in February, but is now down only 15% from February and only 1% for the year. If Cayman pension plans are not like this, you are doing it wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whereas my local pension plan has barely mustered 5% per year during the greatest Bull market in history. It double dings millions in fees, enriching administrators while PMs just use a static ETF allocation from the early 2000’s, with a website that hasn’t been updated in years, logins that don’t work, estate planning notes and portfolio choices they don’t act on or record on file, and only email a quarterly statement, if I’m lucky. They haven’t asked for any updated KYC/AML/FATCA materials either. Over half a Billion in assets under management!

      • Anonymous says:

        Again, blame government. The Investment Regulations are too restrictive.

        • Anonymous says:

          Government doesn’t regulate bad customer service. The Regs are restrictive because Govt didn’t trust them to not mess up worse if given more leeway.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ezzerd miller forgets that not all caymanians make over 10 thousand a month like him then he wants people who has no money or work to get a bank loan how is he a.politician how did he get that job with that level of thinking. What he need to do is stop helping expats get their Caymanian papers when these expats have been investigated in their country of birth for bank robbery.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This pension shit a scam
    We not gettin it.. I have a statement from February before all this corona thing where I was trying combine my two pension ..
    When I email today asking how I go about this withdrawal thing I hearing
    They sent me a statement this statement is half of what they sent me in February
    So where did the rest of my money go

    That where the coming coming in
    Just know we not going to get it

    Uncle Demon

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello? Did you watch the news at all in March? The stock market (which is where your pension is invested) lost almost 30%. Thankfully it has gained about 15% back in April so you should see a gain on your April stmt.

      Why would you combine your two pensions? Just leave them as is.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard Miller, the Moses Kirkconnell of Northside.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All Miller needs is an education. Such a condescending Caymanian. Treats his countrymen like shit. With friends like him, who needs enemies?

    • Anonymous says:

      The pension law was Ezzard Miller’s baby – or should I say folly? I believe it was a good idea on paper, a way of preventing a whole generation of Caymanians from becoming drains on the government. Gone are the days when most Caymanians look after their elderly until they die. Some do, as they should, but the majority don’t give a crap. Ask anyone who has delivered Meals on Wheels what they have seen. Most young people are just out for themselves (and they’re often the ones clamouring to let COVID-19 rip through the community, so what if it kills a bunch of old people. Those old folks had their time and are close to death, they reason, so let them die so I can inherit their wealth). Sorry folks, that’s what it’s come to. Maybe Ezzard saw it coming. But Ezzard was conned. He, who sees an expat conspiracy to take advantage of Caymanians around every corner, didn’t see this coming. He didn’t see that pension providers would basically rape the pension funds with high fees and dangerous investments, or that they would hire criminals to oversee them (well, at least one was a proven lawbreaking criminal, the others are just moral criminals). I could have put my money in a bank certificate of deposit and earned more over the past 20 years – this despite and unprecedented bull market. There have been some years where it made money, but most years, it hasn’t. Volatility basically disappeared for many years recently, but not in my pension account. I feel like it’s a spin of a roulette wheel every time I open a statement. And because of my age, I was supposedly on the conservative plan! Sorry Ezzard, nice try, but I’m going with Chris Saunders on this one!

      • Anonymous says:

        Umm…no, I don’t think so. The pension funds have mirrored the returns on the major global indices (S&P 500 for example) over the last 20 years). It is just volatile to watch the ups and downs but overall there are significant ups. Take a detailed look at your statement from the very beginning until now and then you will believe me.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon 9:20.
        You are surely misinformed yes Ezzard was right in 1990 when he worked with the Chamber for one year to develop a social security scheme that would have earned Caymanians a proper pension. He introduced the law in 1992 but the LA rejected his plan and the plans we now have was done by McKeeva Bush, Tom Jefferson and Truman Bodden for their friends in the Financial Services Sector to make money of poor Caymanians who will never get a decent pension unless the current system is changed.

  6. M McLaughlin says:

    Great idea Mr. Miller, the only problem is the Insurance companies that own the pension administrators and their FAT CAT friends would be right at the front of the line if this idea was even possible here to invest in local banks!

    My suggestion to you and your fellow lawmakers is to enact laws to force the utlities providers and banks to freeze all mortgage, credit card, car loan payments until this crisis is over, I imagine people drawing on their pensions will probably be buying food, paying healthcare premiums, taking care of their children, etc, you know trying to survive!

    The pension withdrawals will only be a stopgap measure for many, if someone doesn’t have a job and the recovery take a year or two, how will they be able to pay these obligations?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Millers idea is no better! Pensions yes, but the providers be self directed and based IN North America. We can train Caymanians to be what is called Financial Advisors instead of lower skilled pension administrators. That could be a cottage industry and provide advice to help self direct investment. Early withdrawal just like the US and Canada 10% penalty unless to buy first home or say Covid 19. That would help fund NAU and if the entrepreneurs amongst us found a great idea aid in helping put Caymanians and residents in a better position to take advantage of market opportunities instead of expats who have access to their pensions on terms just described.

    The problem with Cayman I have always found is we take and blend North American and British systems which don’t fit together and the politicians happily point to the UK when it’s some sort of control they want and take from North America when it’s commercially sensible and call it Caymanised.

    Heres a big hint, we are in the Americas you have opted for an American style health care system, we are dominated by North American eg Canadian banks. By all accounts we are 9/10 North American by our very nature. Then we come and think it’s acceptable to plop down some UK systems via some consultancy which doesnt work.

    Chris Saunders is the smartest one up in their. Glad these politicians can’t fly off the Europe because unless they import the whole European system it ain’t going to work. And the second Alden and crew hear about what that would cost he would tell us we can’t afford it.

    And why cant we afford it… Because we are built in a North American model….its just the simple history and geography and no amount. Of trips to London is going to erase the last 500 years. Its all good are students are going for school as they get more.wordly.

    I’m not bashing the UK or Europe its just saying simple facts..its different. Stop the oppression, reform the whole thing so you can fund the NAU and let upcoming entrepreneurs have access to affordable capital and others control. Of their financial future.

    CIG please wake up! Your not.and have not played mommy and daddy cradle to grave since the late 1990s. There is no more national healthcare, no more. Guaranteed jobs for Caymanians.coming home. But yet allow. The. People to mature and grant grant economic independence to your people.

    Poor leadership successively since at least 2003

  8. Anonymous says:

    banks are a no no…..

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Amendments to the Pensions Law passed, so it doesn’t really matter. Just needs Gov sign off, gazette, and standardized forms from DLP. Getting ID/Utility bill Notarized is going to be difficult under the curfew, unless there is some provision for a digitized alternative.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller.
    I went on Chambers on-line pension calculator today. If I continue to contribute to my pension for the next 10 years (already contributed for 4 years @ full pensionable salary), I would receive about CI$400 per month! Absolutely useless – I may as well take 12k out now and invest it myself!!

    Chris Saunders was right – Cayman Islands’ mandatory pensions are no good to anyone…

    • Anonymous says:

      Spot on. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

    • Anonymous says:

      But do you know how much effort it is to make a return yourself on that money? Plus most people aren’t disciplined….they would just spend it all if someone didn’t force them to at least save a portion of it!

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m putting mine against my mortgage – a MUCH better investment than the lame pension plan that will help me very little in retirement.

  11. Anonymous says:

    At today’s press briefing, you pressed the Premier about the difficulty in contacting pension providers in making an application for pension withdrawals.

    The new provisions under the National Pensions Law do not come into law until May 1st (S.2(1)(b) of the Amendment Law. Further, there will be a prescribed application form which is currently being drafted by the Director.

    Therefore, for the benefit of your ‘readers’, there is no point in them emailing pension administrators at this stage. The application form will be released on-line and then, and only then, can member applicants apply; and they will need to provide a notarized copy of government issued ID.

    I hope this assists.

    • Anonymous says:

      By the way Wendy. Your question to the Minister for Heath on the issue of a ‘fitness trainer’ was a dream. What a response…….this is the man who mocked the gay community with his reference to “Gaypril”. He can dish it but when he is on the receiving end, he showed himself to be a pathetic, rude, inarticulate, hypocritical bible basher!

      • Anonymous says:

        Wendy tried so hard to remain professional until today, asking questions in regards to the most tacky, trashy website (CMR). Her true colors was shown today.

      • Anonymous says:

        6:42 p m, he is In a position that he should never ever been put into . He should not even been voted in L A.

        • Anonymous says:

          Blame single seat constituencies and the first past the post/One man one vote, “winner take all” West Minister type electoral system.

          We need multi seat constituencies with proportional representation. More choice would hopefully weed out those who should still be in/who need to return to, school and not be in the LA.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant foresight!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Miller said that “pensions are already inadequate in the absence of a national scheme, and allowing people to make cash withdrawals now would be a short-term feast followed by famine”. He is absolutely correct. Alden will only say “that problem will only be for another government, not him”.

  14. Anonymous says:

    When will our politicians learn the only useful advice they can give is which foods to stay away from.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How about some double-dipping MLA withdrawals, wouldn’t that be something.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What he means is change ‘pension’ to ‘taxation’ as that’s what this would become – no bank would be willing to take on this responsibility and as a pension holder, I certainly don;t want my pension funds spent locally on ‘loans’
    Cayman Development Bank, aka Cayman’s ATM is a great example of this folly, happy to lend money, no way or aptitude to collect

    • Anonymous says:

      Only bested, perhaps, by Big Mac’s version of a development/slush/vote buying fund. But I hear ya – sub standard, shambolic and inept, at the very best and I’m being very kind.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Good job Miller forsight

  18. $ safer under your mattress says:

    This proposal is only marginally better than digging into pensions. Banks are ever increasing their fees while government turn a blind eye to them. what’s next, CIG increase stamp duty on transactions? Banks & CIG will win while people pay them to slowly deplete their funds as they starve. I’d rather withdraw all my pension funds and self invest in more profitable options. I see an emerging cash only economy coming out of this. Food prices in Cayman are about to skyrocket, protein staples will become a luxury just like the “Christmas Beef” of old days gone by.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have a point 1.36 …. My Bank already CHARGES ME if I am stupid enough to leave funds in my SAVINGS account. So they have ‘use of my funds’ (overnight or long-term placements) and garner returns but actually charge me monthly for the privilege. Where would this leave this type of mass investment?

  19. Anonymous says:

    If possible I would prefer self directed pension and put all under my mattress.

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