New MPFA COOs tackle legal reforms

Hong KongÆs Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) has promoted two of its executive directors to COO.
The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) has appointed Hendena Yu and Diana Chan, formerly executive directors, to co-chief operating officers as of Monday. Yu previously oversaw the Occupational Retirement Scheme Ordinance (ORSO) retirement plans run by companies. She now adds the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) to her bailiwick. Chan, who oversees corporate affairs, will now also oversee policy development as well as information technology.

MPF implementation and regulation was previously overseen by executive director Raymond Tam. His new role will be to review MPF monitoring, compliance and any changes needed to it, essentially a policy development role, reporting to Diana Chan. A fourth executive director, Ernest Lee, who handled enforcement and member protection issues for retirement assets, will now also oversee MPFA’s call centre and monitor complaints, and will report to Yu.

The co-COO slot fills a vacancy left by Alan Wong, who is leaving his job as deputy managing director next week to return to government service at the Information Technology Services Department. Yu and Chan now report to Rafael Hui, managing director.

MPF service providers greeted the changes with optimism as their relations with MPFA officials have been strained. Service providers believe their complaints have finally reached the top levels of government, as far as the financial secretary’s desk, and speculate that Yu’s appointment was meant to smooth ruffled feathers because her relations with the private sector are free of acrimony.

Yu herself doubts this. She notes first of all that the bureaucratic shuffle has been in the works for several months and is not a response to pressure from service providers. Second, she says, “Regardless of who holds my job, the MPFA’s position will not change.”

No that she is in the hot seat, she will certainly hear her fair share of complaints. Service providers are unhappy with many amendments now winding through the Legislative Council, while members are complaining to MPFA about service providers not always living up to the grandiose promises made in the run-up to MPF.

Furthermore, Yu says this fall MPFA will spearhead a committee to review the entire MPF scheme for another round of technical amendments. This committee will include service providers and other interested parties, she notes.

Yu declined to discuss what kind of broad policy changes to Hong Kong’s retirement schemes may also be on offer later this year. She notes MPFA does not design policy, it merely implements it. Nor was she able to comment on the government’s announcement this past weekend that it intends to merge MPFA and the Insurance Authority.

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