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CPF – F1 or F9? Nominations are secret?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on July 17, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

CPF members can make a revocable nomination for a CPF Investment Scheme policy and, upon death, the death benefit will be paid to the named beneficiaries, and not distributed according to the member’s CPF nomination.

I understand that when a CPF member dies, his or her CPF nominees’ identities and percentage of distribution are not revealed.

I believe there may be some instances of deceased’s families being financially and emotionally stressed when they are unable to determine who the nominees are.

If distribution of a deceased’s estate to beneficiaries is public information when one dies with a will or intestate, why is it that CPF nominations are kept a secret?

Some may have to live with the anguish of never knowing who inherited their loved one’s CPF. The case of the Singaporean husband who committed suicide and left 30 per cent of his CPF to a foreign pub-waitress girlfriend, which sparked the debate in the media about CPF nominations, may never have come to light had there not been a coroner’s inquiry.

The procedure for nomination is to print the form from the CPF website and get two witnesses who are not nominees to witness the member’s signature. The completed form can be posted to the CPF Board.

Although the board sends an acknowledgement by post to the member’s residential address, there is always the possibility of fraud or duress in the nomination process.

I would like to suggest that the veil of secrecy on nominations be removed, if so requested by immediate family members, upon the member’s death.

This may prevent situations where the family has to ask around, and rely on the honesty of those asked, to try to figure out how the CPF was distributed.

Are there other countries in the world that keep such pension distributions a secret? What is the norm?

For more of Sze Hian’s writings, visit his website here.


11 Responses to “CPF – F1 or F9? Nominations are secret?”

  1. Signaller said

    Hello! I can’t help but notice the headings used by Mr Leong in his articles. What on earth does he mean by [item/issue] – F1 or F9?

    If he is using the grading system from the GCE ‘O’ Levels then it should read: A1 or F9 (or to simplify: A or F) i.e. whether the item/issue in question is GOOD or BAD – like a General Paper question with +ve and -ve sides argued out in the article.

    Else, it’s kinda meaningless – unless he wanted to ask the readers whether the item (e.g. CPF) is a HELP/ASSISTANCE (drawing inspiration from the F1 Help Button on the keyboard) to the citizen or a FAILURE (the F9 grade given in exams) from the government [But then, it’s a bit on the abstract side].

  2. kf said

    I always thought the F1 reference was to Singapore’s hosting of the F1 motorsport race that made the news a while ago. So I presume the F1 or F9 means that the writer was trying to pose the question if this example is a something which we can all boast about (shamelessly by implication) or if it is something we need to be shameful about.

    This website features many critical and sharp comments on current affairs on Singapore. Some things left unsaid leaves a greater impact in the reader than spelling everything out.

  3. Dear Kf,

    You have said it exactly. The writer, Sze Hian, preferred it to be “F1” rather than “A1”, referencing the recent announcement of Singapore hosting the F1 races next year.

    Your explanation is spot on. 🙂


  4. shoestring said

    I thought the writer was being cheeky. CPF has failed. F1 – nearly passed. F9 – failed miserably!

    Back to the serious stuff. What is the significance of knowing how the CPF is distributed? Can anything really be undone/ reversed/ challenged if the information is made public? It will be more useful if nominations are made known before death, rather than after. Or perhaps partial disclosure eg. each nominee could be notified of his nominee status and/ or share only.

    Personally, I support total confidentiality because I am pretty sure there will be lots of fighting, unhappiness, manipulation and bickering within families over nominees and their share if the information is disclosed. That way, it may just hasten the CPF member’s death.

  5. mrbiao said

    I have a friend working in CPF board. I believe the rationale behind the policy of keeping nominee information confidential is to prevent nominees from being harassed by others, especially when the identities of the nominees are controversial – for example in the case where the man left part of his CPF savings to a foreign GF rather than leaving the entire amount to his own family.

    However, such a policy has its downside in the distress that it can cause to family members who are left wondering about where the money is going to. But considering cases where huge sums of money are involved, such a policy may just help to prevent dire consequences such as murder or serious attacks.

    So I guess, maybe the policy can stay but needs some tweaking to be more transparent.

  6. Chew said

    So what is going to stop the state if one fine day they decide to fraud all the citizens and keep all the deceased CPF money for themselves? They don’t have to reveal nominations, and the dead couldn’t come back to life to refute them.

  7. Y K said

    Yes, CPF Board should introduce a transparent policy when it comes to who the nominees are and what percentage is allocated for each beneficiary. Simply sending an acknowledgement or using the term “A nomination has been made” is insufficient. However such transparency muist be done only on production of the death certificate by the immediate next of kin which should include the parents if the deceased is single, the wife/husband or children in their absence.

    If the nomination process is not revealed, who is to know how much and who the deceased has nominated as beneficiary. The CPF Board should respond to such queries and cut the bureaucracy.

    Meanwhile, I would advise all CPF account holders to always xerox a copy of the nomination before submission as an indication of who the nominees are and what percentage they are entitled too and have have it kept with someone he or she trust or leave it in a safe deposit box but made known such a box exists so that upon death the safe deposit box can be opened.

    The above should apply also to financial instruments held by the deceased.

  8. shoestring said

    I think it will be better to leave it to the discretion of the CPF member whether to disclose the information. If he is really afraid that his money would be misappropriated, then he may choose to divulge it in his personal will or to a few trusted people. That way, CPF will have to produce proof if the CPF is distributed otherwise.

  9. Lai CF said

    Hey, if Government can passed a Family maintenace Bill “forcing” siblings to support their aged parents….then, why the heck don’t they add an amendment to the Family Maintenance Bill that the immediate family has the first lien on the deceased CPF Fund?

    Fair’s fair.

    if children is legally “forced” to maintain aged parents; then conversely, surviving spouse and children should be entitled to receive the remainding CPF funds of the deceased.

  10. shoestring said

    Don’t forget that our parents raised us up. Do we need to be forced (regardless of what laws the government passes) to take care of them? I hope we won’t come to a point when parents are blamed for bringing us into this world.

  11. Lai CF said

    shoestring…MYCS are already handing a few cases of parenst suing children for maintenance.

    DOn’t forget..if an aged and penniless parent is hsopitalised, chronically-illed, no CPF fund, no Medisave, no insurance, and racking up a 6-figure hospital bill…can the HOSPITAL, under Family Maintenance Acts, sue the children to settle that 6-figure hospital bills?

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