CrossBorder April - Retirement Savings : A Global Dialogue

CrossBorder is a great believer in a global dialogue for pensions, superannuation, retirement income policy and the investment structures that are central to their accumulation and maintenance.

Having recently spent time in Europe, the UK and Ireland as well as an extended period in Australia it is clear that the rest of the world, including our own Asia Pacific Region looks to Australia as one of the key role models for retirement savings structures.

There is evidence from Ireland that the current government there will not use retirement incomes savings as a political weapon or budgetary tool once the current levy ends in two years time and it’s likely it will leave the tax structure alone according to Jerry Moriarty CEO of Irelands’ pensions association the IPFA. The UK appears to have settled on a default structure, similar to Australia’s and is likely to leave the system alone for the foreseeable future, see our interview with BESTrustees, Clive Gilchrist. Various European nations are struggling with their responsibilities in the pensions arena and addressing them with such individuality that can be enjoyed given the confines of a central currency. Here in Hong Kong the MPF is working its way through its growing pains such as introducing choice and given the flat tax structure the system is unlikely to attract any attention from that direction.

Sad indeed then, given its benchmark status,  to see in Australia, something so universally important as superannuation shamelessly and disturbingly deployed as a political football for what turns out to be little more than last minute posturing in the lead up to a general election. An election which very likely will decide whether any decision made for the upcoming budget will pass into law, given the opposition’s position that it will make no negative changes to Superannuation in its first term – see our interview with opposition super spokesman, Mathias Cormann.

Short term political desperation is as universal now as ageing populations. Luckily the fate of politicians and their parties is short term. On the other hand, and rather more important than the current crop of leaders and would-be leaders,  the fate of the growing population of retirees is very much an ongoing, long-term challenge that governments, whatever their colour or creed, must agree to meet with a bi-partisan policy, not some sort of Machiavellian game of thrones.

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