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Review and understand your insurance coverage

There are various forms of insurance you can obtain to help cover different aspects of your life, such as personal life and health. Insurance can cover situations such as medical conditions, sickness or even death, so it is important to review your insurance to ensure you have the appropriate coverage.

Life insurance

The main form of insurance that provides financial coverage upon an individual’s death is life insurance. The most important question to ask when trying to ascertain whether life insurance is necessary for you is whether your family would suffer financially, if you were you to die unexpectedly. Some people don’t give this question serious enough thought. In fact, according to research for America’s National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), less than half of young families have life insurance for either spouse that they have purchased on their own.

To begin, you need to think about how much life insurance coverage you need, for how long and how much can you afford to pay in insurance premiums. Consider your dependents financial needs if you were not there to provide for them, which takes in consideration determining how much of the family's overall income you contribute. Are there other important expenses that you would like to cover, such as education for your children or other outstanding debts? All of these aspects will affect how much life insurance you should consider obtaining.

Health insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for anyone who works in the Cayman Islands. If you are employed, you will normally join the health insurance provider that your employer uses for all employees. But it is worth examining if the level of coverage offered by this service provider is sufficient for you and your dependents. Sometimes you may be offered more than one plan, with different premiums, co-payments, deductibles and benefits which should all be carefully examined.

Think about how much you spend on average as a family each year on healthcare, which doctors and hospitals are included in your health insurer’s network and whether you’d like to broaden that reach to cover specific doctors or hospitals. Also, it is important to look at whether your insurance plan covers services such as dental coverage, optician's visits or even eye glasses. If you or a dependent has a medical condition that may require regular medication, check to see if your medication is included in the plan’s drug list, otherwise you may have to pay for your medication in full. Paying a little extra for health insurance may mean the difference between an average service and one that really suits your needs.

Insurance is an important financial expense to ensure that you are adequately prepared, given various situations that could happen. As with your retirement plans, planning for the future gives peace of mind for you and for your loved ones.



Where to put your cash now

With the high cost of living in the Cayman Islands we are very fortunate if we have money left over in our bank account once all the monthly bills are paid. However there may be times when you find yourself with a little extra cash to spare. Leaving it in your bank account to accrue interest might seem like the easiest solution as to what to do with the extra funds, but with bank interest rates being so low and the returns not being much better, it may not be worth your while. You need to seek an alternate solution if you want to see your money grow.

A far better idea is to put your money somewhere that will see it grow at a quicker rate, no matter how small the investment you may have available. Investing in the stock market might seem like a good place to start, with record highs in the US stock markets seen at the start of 2015 and modest growth predicted for the rest of the year. However, small amounts of extra cash might not necessarily be enough for you to buy the specific stocks you want, particularly once fees are paid, and unless you are a trained investment analyst, it can be a very risky business picking stocks and shares from the thousands available on the stock market without an experienced eye.

Utilizing the expertise of investment analysts and advisors who make a living out of choosing stocks and shares is a sensible solution if you want to see your money work in the stock market, specifically the investment analysts who work on behalf of the Chamber Pension Plan. If you have some extra money available why not purchase additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) for your Chamber Pension Plan and let the experts decide which way the markets are moving.

Making AVCs is a straight forward process. You can make AVCs simply by completing a form and making a payment. This amount will then act as a top up to your regular pension contributions, and while you may only have a small amount of extra money over each month, if you make those extra contributions on a regular basis they will quickly add up.

The internationally recognised investment advisors, who manage the Plan’s portfolio, will then use money invested in your pension plan (i.e. your regular monthly contributions and those of your employer plus any AVCs) to invest into one of five LifeCycle Funds, tailored to your investment needs, based on your age and estimated time until retirement. (the member can stipulate in which LifeCycle Fund they want their AVCs invested. It does not need to be the same LifeCycle Fund as their required contributions.) This means all monies in your pension are working in tandem to ensure the best possible investment returns for you.



How to manage your mortgage

A mortgage to purchase a home is probably one of the biggest loans that you will ever take out in your lifetime. Taking out a loan with a mortgage provider, such as a bank, should never be taken lightly; after all, you will most likely be paying off your mortgage for most of your working life.

Figuring out how much you can afford to pay back monthly will be your first step in deciding how large of a mortgage you can afford.

As with saving for your retirement, you will only be able to properly calculate how much you can afford to borrow once you have worked out your monthly budget. This should include a sum of all your earnings (and your partner’s if you are entering into a joint mortgage) less your pension payments, versus all your combined expenses. Take into consideration necessity items, such as food, utilities, gas for car, school fees, etc. when planning out your budget. But don’t forget to include regular costs for entertainment/dining out, travel and even that occasional latte, which all adds up over time. Determine how much you would like to put away in saving each month and then you can better calculate how much you have over for paying off a mortgage.

You should also consider the interest rate that is being charged and the type of loan you take out, as some banks offer flexible rate mortgages while others are fixed. More importantly, you should realise that mortgage rates will fluctuate with interest rates in general (even fixed rate mortgages are usually only fixed for a certain period of time), so you need to be able to accommodate an increase in interest rates, should it occur.

Once you begin making regular payments it is worth remembering that your monthly mortgage payments will be comprised of a percentage that’s paying off the actual amount borrowed and a percentage of interest that you must pay to the bank each month, so ideally it is best to pay off your mortgage as soon as you can. Making extra payments on top of your regular payment means you could manage to save thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loan, because every time you repay some of what you owe, you are charged less interest, so more of your future payments go towards repaying the outstanding principal.

Taking on a home mortgage is a big responsibility but with good planning and prudent saving your dream of buying your own property can be a reality.



Short term saving gives long term benefits

As pension plan providers, we always encourage people to think about starting their plans for retirement as soon as possible because the sooner you start saving, the larger your retirement fund will likely be at the end of the day.

Everyone who is employed in the Cayman Islands must contribute to a registered pension plan, along with their employer, but everyone is encouraged to put just a little bit more away to ensure that there is sufficient money to cover all your needs when you retire.

The best way to establish how much extra you can put into your pension plan is to carefully assess your monthly expenditure. Building savings on unnecessary regular purchases might eventually mean the difference between an adequate pension that covers the basics and one that allows you far more flexibility in your retirement years.

Buying a morning coffee or dining out for lunch or dinner a couple of times during the working week may not seem like a great financial outlay, but over time these expenses will add up. Instead, why not think about making coffee at home or pack a lunch each day and you will be amazed at how quickly your savings can grow. Do you get your car professionally cleaned on a regular basis? Why not think about washing it yourself and saving that CI$25-40 each month? Even putting spare change into a glass jar adds up pretty quickly over time.

Once you have managed to make regular savings in your monthly budget, you need to ensure that the extra money is added to your pension plan. This can be done by way of making an Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC). AVCs are a great way to boost your pension funds and offer members incredible flexibility and control over how much they want to save.

You can save with AVCs and also decide in which Chamber Pension Plan Lifecycle fund you want to invest. For even more flexibility, you can choose to save through your employer by payroll deduction (as per your regular monthly pension contribution) or set up a Chamber AVC account and send in your contributions as you are able.

It’s a straightforward process to save with AVCs. You simply complete an enrollment form and make your payment to the Chamber Pension Plan. Making small savings now might not seem like a big deal and shouldn’t disrupt your life to any great degree, but those small savings will add up over time. When you eventually retire, you can be comfortable to know that you have a robust pot of funds on which to live, you will be thankful you made those small sacrifices!



Who oversees our members’ interests?

Highly experienced investment managers work to ensure the best rate of return on members’ investments while at the same time prudently investing following strict guidelines. These managers are overseen by a reputable independent consultant, Mercer, who is in turn overseen by the Chamber Pension Plan’s Board of Trustees…a team of respected professionals who take a proactive role in ensuring members’ interests are a top priority.

The Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for overseeing an Administrator, who they appoint to manage the day-to-day administrative responsibilities of the Plan. In addition, the Trustees are accountable for reviewing the performance of the service providers and investment managers, a task they undertake on a frequent basis.

Broad knowledge base

The Trustee members – who are all voluntary – are voted in by members and serve a term of three years. All of the Trustees are active members in the Cayman Islands business community representing employers and employees from different industry sectors. They bring with them a broad base of knowledge from which the Trustees can draw on a regular basis. Having this wealth of experience means the Trustees are extremely well equipped to deal with all types of industry professions that wish to become members of the Chamber Pension Plan.

They take an active part in the running of the Plan and receive regular reports from the Administrator and other service providers with regard to its operation. Trustees have the power to remove and replace the Administrator or any other investment manager or service provider, if they feel a change is needed to better serve the members. They also take responsibility for matters such as determining eligibility of membership and interpreting rules and regulations. In this way members can be sure that they always have a highly qualified team on board looking out for their needs.

World class service providers

The Chamber Pension Plan’s key service providers are some of the world’s most respected financial services organisations, including State Street (Prime Custodian), MUFG (Plan and NAV Administrator) and PriceWaterhouseCooper (Auditors).

In addition, the Plan’s investment portfolios are independently overseen by top-rated international pension consultants, Mercer. The investment managers are internationally renowned experts in their field, and include BlackRock, EFG Bank, and Income Research + Management.

Members should feel certain that there is a vast wealth of expertise available and all parties are working together to ensure their interests are always at the forefront. Strong oversight means your investment is properly managed and working for you.



Saving for a house or car

There are few items more costly in life than buying a car or a home. Prudent saving before you make a large down-payment of cash is not only sensible, it’s a necessity, especially if you are a first time car or home buyer.

Save before you buy

You may not be able to buy a car outright, but even if you take out a loan to fund its purchase, it’s still advisable to save as much as you can beforehand, because purchasing a car is never the only cost associated with successfully getting yourself on the road. Insurance can be costly, especially if you are in your late teens or early 20s, when insurance costs can be higher. Then there are also vehicle licensing costs, driver’s license costs, transfer fees (for second hand cars) and of course, gas.

Since the property crash and global recession, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain a mortgage from banks, especially if you are looking to fund the majority of your purchase by a mortgage. Saving is therefore critical to the success of your purchase, not only to cover the deposit required by the bank, but also to cover Government stamp duty, legal fees and real estate agent fees.

When just starting out, your first major purchase is likely to be a car. You may not have a significant amount of income coming in, but neither are you likely to have big financial expenses either (such as a large mortgage or school fees). This is the time to save and watch your money grow in time, before you make the next step to actually make a big purchase.

Start by assessing how much you earn versus how much you spend on a regular basis. Doing so you can establish a budget you can live by. The budget should include a modest amount of savings every month, no matter if you are hoping to buy a house, a car, a jet ski or a bicycle.

Saving isn’t just for the young, however. Saving on a regular basis makes sound financial sense whatever your age, and the sooner you begin, the greater the savings in the long run. If you have a car or home in mind, it’s always a good idea to create a personal savings plan. This will give you a realistic timeframe to save as much as you can to put towards your car, home or whatever your end goal is. Actually write down your financial goals and how you are going to achieve them and make sure you refer back to it on a regular basis so you can assure your savings are on the right track.



Why AVCs are a good idea

Every employee in the Cayman Islands must contribute at least five per cent of their monthly earnings into an approved pension plan, with their employers also contributing at least five per cent to the pension plan for their employee. Ten per cent of your earnings might seem like an adequate sum of money to be saving for your retirement, but even if you are a careful budgeter and have calculated how much you will need to live on, you may still need a little extra help financially when you are finally ready to retire. Unexpected trips off island, home and car repairs and medical costs can all materialise when you least expect them.

 

That’s where additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) can make all the difference. AVCs are a great way to add to your existing pension contributions to help ensure you will be financially secure when you finish your working life, ready to take on any unplanned expenses that may come your way.

 

Making an AVC payment is a simple procedure. For Chamber Pension Plan members it involves completing an enrolment form and making the payment. You can set up a regular payroll deduction with your employer to make regular monthly payments, or you can set up an AVC account with us and make your payments as you wish. A great benefit of making AVC payments therefore lies with its flexibility. If you have extra cash over one month you can make a larger AVC payment than normal; if you have nothing to spare at the end of the month you can simply make no AVC payment that month. The control is with you.

 

The Chamber Pension Plan is comprised of a number of different Lifecycle Funds which target your specific financial goals. When you make an AVC payment you can choose into which fund the AVC will be paid, giving you even more flexibility and control over your pension savings. Just as with you and your employer’s regular pension contributions, tracking your AVC payments is a simple and straightforward procedure. You can follow the growth of your contributions with your semi-annual personalised account statement, which breaks down your contributions, those of your employer and your AVCs, creating a record of your pension plan that’s easy to follow and easy to understand.

 

Your statement is accessible via the Chamber Pension Plan account access. (Gaining access is easy – just call our Chamber Pension Plan hotline 345-745-7630 if you need a username and/or password.)

 

AVCs are a flexible tool which can make the difference between a pension that covers your basic needs and one that truly allows you to live your retirement comfortably. If you have a little extra cash to spare, it is a great method of investing for your future. Get started today and download an AVC form



Get to know the National Pensions Law

A pension should be a basic part of your retirement plan. It’s a retirement account that is maintained by your employer(s) to give you either a fixed sum every month or a lump sum to be invested once you retire. Responsibility for paying into your retirement account falls on both you as the employee and also your employer, who must make regular monthly payments into your pension fund.

In the Cayman Islands, pensions are governed by the National Pensions Law, which specifically lays out how pensions should be paid, by and to whom and how much should be contributed. Every employee in the Cayman Islands must have a pension provided by their employer, with few exceptions.

If you are self-employed, you must contribute as the employer and the employee, totally ten percent each month.

If someone has more than one employer, then each employer must pay into the employee’s pension plan. Expatriates who have been in continuous employment for more than nine months must have a pension plan and the only people excluded are expatriates employed to do housework in private homes.

Employer’s obligations

As an employer, you need to join a pension plan so you can administer it for your employees. It is your responsibility to ensure that all new employees receive an application form as soon as it is needed so that all employees are covered, as required by the National Pensions Law. An employer is required to pay a minimum of five per cent of the employee’s earnings to a pension plan. They can pay more if they wish.

In general, no local employer should offer a pension plan unless it has been registered by the Director of Labour and Pensions, appointed under the National Pensions Law. Because every employer must provide a pension plan for every person working for them in the Cayman Islands, there are stiff penalties for an employer if they fail to do so, with significant fines if they are found guilty of an offence.

Employee’s contributions

Employees are required to pay a minimum of five per cent of their salary into a pension plan. The money that an employee deposits into their pension is called a basic contribution, but can increase the amount if they wish.

In addition, employees can pay additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to their pension plan if they want to. AVCs, as they are known, are a really useful tool to bump up your savings because there are no minimum or maximum amounts stipulated under the law. Saving a bit more than your basic contribution could make a significant difference to you in retirement.

Contributing to AVCs is straightforward and requires the completion of a member change form and the making of a payment. You will be able to track your AVCs as well as you and your employer’s contributions on your statements. For more information on the National Pensions Law, click here.



How much money will I need when I retire?

Ensuring that you have enough money saved in your pension and other savings accounts to live comfortably when you retire is not a straightforward formula because the calculation involves a certain degree of variables. However, with careful consideration and a prudent savings strategy, you can plan accordingly to help you to reach your savings goals by the time you retire.

The key is to start saving early. Calculate your expenses Financial experts suggest that a retiree will need anywhere between 70 and 85 percent of their final salary upon retirement to fund their living expenses once they retire. The first step in trying to pinpoint this figure is to ascertain what your annual expenses will be once you retire.

Some questions to ask yourself:

Will you still have a mortgage that needs to be paid?

Do you intend to retire quietly at home or do you envision travelling round the world?

Will you need to help take care of the expenses of an elderly parent?

Do you have high healthcare costs such as health insurance that will need to be maintained (or even increased) during retirement?

These are all important factors that play a significant part in determining your overall expenses. Once you have taken a good look at what you will need to pay for during retirement, you can assess if your current savings levels will meet your expense requirements.

How big is the pot? Many factors will impact the amount that you will have saved at retirement, all of which you need to take into consideration when assessing if you will have enough money to meet your needs. For example, the earlier you started saving via your pension plan, the more you will have in retirement. The longer you delay starting to save, the harder it will be for you to reach your retirement goals.

Luckily, contributing to your pension account is mandatory in the Cayman Islands, but there are other ways to add to your account with AVCs (Additional Voluntary Contributions).

Your retirement age is another factor to take into consideration: the longer you remain in employment the less you will need upon retirement and the more you will be able to contribute to your pension plan. How much you can afford to save each month and what type of returns you are earning on your pension and other savings are also important factors to think about. It’s smart to invest with a pension such as the Chamber Pension Plan which offers tailor-made solutions for its members called Lifecycle Funds that reflect your changing needs throughout your working life by automatically adjusting the combination of assets they invest in based on your age, which in turn can reflect your evolving investment needs and goals. It is also prudent to save at the highest levels possible.

At the end of the day it is not easy to quote a single number that will determine how much money you need, because everybody’s situation is different. If you can take a good assessment of your financial needs before retirement, ensure you undertake careful planning and prudent saving, then you can better plan to help reach your savings goal.



Get involved with your pension plan: Vote for Trustees

The Chamber Pension Plan wants to encourage all of its members to attend its upcoming meeting, to be held on 15th May at 6.30 pm at the Westin Casuarina Resort.

It’s an important event that requires support of every member and employer because they will be voting for Trustees of the Plan, so please attend – or send your proxy – so that your voice may be heard.

Trustees will serve as employee and employer representatives of specific industry sectors – Hospitality and Tourism, Financial and Professional, Industry and Commercial and Self Employed/Voluntary, so everyone’s voice is heard when it comes to input on their pension plan.

Participation is easy

The Chamber Pension Plan is a democratically elected plan that puts the decision making of the plan in the hands of our membership. We want to ensure that all members take personal responsibility for such an important choice.

Members who may be worried about what is involved to vote for a Trustee will be pleased to learn that doing their part and giving back to their pension plan in this way takes very little time and energy. In less than an hour, members and employer representatives can attend the meeting and place their vote for who they wish to act as a Trustee, making a fundamental decision to the running of the Plan. If the meeting time doesn’t work for your schedule, you have the opportunity to appoint a proxy who can vote for on your behalf, which simply takes a completed proxy form to be submitted. Download a proxy form by clicking here and please note the verification requirements. This allows your vote to be counted in the event you are unable to attend.

At the meeting, members will also receive a brief, yet important, update as to the performance of the Chamber Pension Plan. The important role of a Trustee Trustees play an integral role in the governance of any pension plan and their significance should never be underestimated, that’s why it’s so important for members to participate when it comes to choosing the right person for the job.

Trustees, who are all volunteers, hold the legal title of the pension plan assets and have to perform stringent legal duties to ensure that those assets are used to provide benefits in accordance with the terms of the trust. In addition, Trustees are required to be familiar with the pension plan’s documentation and have an understanding of the funding and investment obligations relating to the plan. They will also need to assure that proper records are kept in compliance with the National Pensions Law and regulations. The role of the Trustee is therefore one that can never be taken lightly and needs the input of the membership to ensure that the plan can work in accordance with its structure.

Basically, the Trustees are in charge of making key decisions as to how your money is invested, so you have the right to appoint them. Your pension shapes your future.

Your and your employer’s contributions together create vital investment for your retirement, the basis for happy and fulfilled ‘golden years’, so please get involved and take responsibility for who it is that oversees your pension plan.

After all, it’s your money!



How to teach your children good personal finance habits

Don’t wait for your children to become teenagers before you start teaching them about good personal finance habits; these life lessons can be taught at a much younger age.

Children as young as three can be taught about the basics of spending and saving. Young children can also be introduced early on to the subject of saving for something worthwhile, an excellent concept that will remain with them as they get older.

Keep it fun

To teach young children about the importance of saving, it’s a good idea for children to have a goal in mind when it comes to something they really want, so perhaps set up a jar or a piggy bank and use this to fill with coins that can be earned when your child behaves particularly well. The money can then be saved towards a toy that they really want, although it’s best to ensure that the item isn’t too expensive otherwise the child will probably lose interest. Likewise, parents can establish jars for other reasons, such as money to be spent on treats such as ice cream or special activities. Periodically counting out the money already saved is a fun way to keep their interest as to how much is already in the pot.

Teaching responsibility

Children can also be taught from an early age how money is used to buy things and the value of the things they want. It’s a good idea to allow older children to have a small amount of money with which they can pay for purchases such as items for their lunch box at the grocery store. Monetary responsibility can increase as your child grows.

Pre-teens can start to earn pocket money for extras that they want. There are some excellent young savings plans on island for young teenagers to open up, as it shows them to appreciate what it means to have a bank account. Such accounts come with debit cards so they can master the art of using ATMs as well. Teenagers should also be taught the value of compound interest, so they can learn the value of starting investing early in a pension plan. They should also be aware of the risks involved with online shopping; including the dangers of credit card fraud and rules should be in place so that they can only make purchases with parental consent. Parents play a vital role in educating their children about the value of good personal finance. Talk regularly to your children about the value of items purchased, how important it is to save for a rainy day and how planning for the future as early as possible is always a wise move. At the end of the day, parents need to lead by example, so do your best to ensure that your personal finances are in good order and hopefully your children will follow your example.



Your pension belongs to you, not your employer

A pension is a method of saving for your retirement. It is your money that is overseen by a pension plan that helps the money grow into sufficient funds that will hopefully see you with enough money to live on once you retire.

People who are a member of a pension plan that is registered in the Cayman Islands that was set up by their employer should understand that the pension belongs to them, no matter why or when they leave their job. This applies to the pension contributions made by the employee (a minimum of 5 per cent of their monthly wage) and also the mandatory minimum 5 per cent contributed by the employer.

If they leave their job or even decide to leave the island, but are not retiring, there are options as to what they can do with their pension. If you’re no longer working for the employer that set up your pension but you intend to continue to live and work in the Cayman Islands, you may be able to leave your pension where it is and get it when you retire, or alternatively you can carry on paying into your pension plan after you leave, or you can decide to transfer it to a new scheme or get a refund on your contributions.

If you meet the age requirements, you can even start collecting your pension. Transferring out of a pension plan Deciding to transfer out of your plan to another authorized pension plan on island means you will have to complete the necessary documentation. In this documentation you will have to certify that you understand that you are entitled to benefits under the plan in relation to your employment with your employer and that you understand you can leave your benefit in the plan where it will continue to accrue based on market conditions until you retire.

Alternatively you can transfer the value of the accumulate contributions to another approved pension plan. Leaving the island If you decide to leave the Cayman Islands and want to apply for a refund of your pension contributions accrued while in employment here, you should be aware that refunds are only allowed if the commuted value of the pension is over CI$5,000 and the member’s employment is terminated. In addition the refund will only be paid once that member has stopped living in the Islands and no contributions have been made to a pension plan by, or on behalf of the member for two years or more.

People who have a commuted value of their pension under CI$5,000 can receive their refund straight away, so long as their employment is terminated and they stop living in the Cayman Islands. Your pension is yours; it’s money that has been saved up over your working life that has been contributed to by you as the employee and also your employer. Ensuring you have these precious savings overseen by a solid pension plan provider should mean you can look forward to a happy and fulfilling retirement.



How to understand the performance of your pension plan

While it is difficult to compare pension plans across the board in Cayman, with varied factors such as differing styles and investments portfolio mix preventing a straightforward comparison; there are certain indicators on your statement that will help you understand the performance of your Plan.

Members will be pleased to note that 2013 marked a strong year for the Chamber of Commerce’s Pension Plan in line with broad market appreciation, with double digit annual performance figures for most of the five Lifecycle funds that it operates.

Statement highlights investment returns 

Your Pension Plan statement is an important indicator of the health of your Pension Plan and should be carefully reviewed. Your Account Summary provides you with a snapshot of how your funds are progressing. It will give you the current value of your account and you can roughly calculate the investment return by subtracting how much you and your employer have invested from the current value. This will give you an important overview of whether the value of your Plan is increasing or not. The Transaction Detail gives a thorough breakdown of your Pension Plan position, highlighting the value of your account at the beginning of the statement period as well as net contributions made by you and your employer during the statement period and the value of your account, including investment returns, at the end of the statement period. It also explains the growth or decline in the value of the units in your account during the statement period.

Lifecycle performance

The Chamber Pension Plan has six Lifecycle groups that focus specifically on the needs of the individual, gearing investments around the age group of the member. In this way the Chamber Pension Plan’s investment managers can seek the best investments based upon the length of time the investment will remain in the fund. They are split as follows: the 2060 fund is for those born in the 1990s; 2050 for people born in 1980s, 2040 for those born in 1970s; 2030 for those born in 1960s and the Income Growth and Income Conservative for those born in 1959 or earlier.

Your Pension Plan is an investment that is meant to provide you with extra security once you finish your working life. By keeping up-to-date with all the information that your Pension Plan gives you, you will be in a better position to monitor the progress of your retirement savings, and to plan you affairs appropriately.



KPMG REPORT

The trustees of the Chamber Pension Plan would like to advise the membership that, in accordance with the ORDER of the Superintendent of Pensions February 2014, KPMG was engaged to perform a Fiduciary Performance and Operational Integrity Review of the Plan.

A copy of the Review is available to any member that requests it, via email at pensions@caymanchamber.ky or in person at the pension office at the Chamber of Commerce, Governors Square, West Bay Road, Grand Cayman.



Chamber Pension Plan "Life Stories" campaign to promote retirement planning

The Chamber Pension Plan is launching a new marketing campaign this week to raise awareness about the importance of retirement planning in the Cayman Islands.

The new campaign called “life stories” is inspired by the plan’s proud heritage and history in Cayman. It will feature various real life stories of Chamber Pension members who share their own hopes and dreams to inspire others to think about the future.

The campaign is aimed at current and future generations of employees and will encourage them to plan ahead to ensure they are financially secure in retirement and can fulfil their ambitions in later life.

Paul Schreiner, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, commented: “We are all living longer, and as the cost of living continues to rise here in the Cayman Islands, as it does elsewhere in the world, it is crucial for workers to have enough money saved for retirement. This should be uppermost in everyone’s minds.

Our new campaign hopes to get this message out there in a very human way and get people thinking about whether they are saving enough for retirement as early as they can. Life stories is about tapping into people’s hopes and dreams for the future and encouraging them to start putting plans in place now to help them achieve these goals.”

Paul continued: “You can make additional voluntary contributions to your pension account at any time to provide for extra income when you retire, and the earlier these contributions are made, the more time there will be for them to grow while invested safely and professionally.”

The Chamber Pension Plan was established by the Chamber of Commerce in 1992 to ensure that as many people as possible had access to an affordable, low-cost pension plan. The Chamber Pension was the first pension plan to be established in the Cayman Islands, and is proud to be a not-for-profit pension plan.

Raul Nicholson-Coe, trustee, commented: “The not-for-profit nature of the plan means that, while members’ pension funds are professionally managed by leading global investment management firms, the organisation locally is overseen by a team of volunteer trustees from the Cayman Islands business community.

This unique structure means that, unlike other for-profit firms, Chamber Pension Plan has low costs and does not charge performance fees or account-level charges to our members. This is good news for everyone, as investment growth comes back to our members, and isn’t diminished by charges and high overheads.”


Ends

Media enquiries: Emma Drysdale at Fountainhead on 324 2863 or email emma.drysdale@fountainhead.ky



National Pensions Law update

As you may be aware, the National Pensions (Amendment) Law 2016 passed in the Legislative Assembly and has now been published in the Gazette.  

 

The Amendments will not come into effect until there is additional public education on the new sections and an Order is issued by Cabinet which will identify the implementation dates for sections.  Please note the Amendment Law does not come into effect upon being published in the Gazette. The Ministry and the DLP is presently working on the implementation plan and further information will be released in the near future.

 

Until such time as the Amendment comes into effect, the current requirements of the National Pensions Law (2012) remain in effect and employers, employees as well as pension plan administrators and members are expected to comply with these requirements.

 

 



Pension Law Update - what are the proposed changes?

 

 

 

CURRENT LAW

NEW LAW

effective once enforced

COMMENTS

Refunds are currently available if:                                         

1. The member's employment is terminated and the value of the member's pension account is less than CI $5,000.                                                                                                    

2.  If the value of the account is over CI$5,000 and (a) the member's employment is terminated, and (b) the member has not resided in Cayman for at least six months and (c) the member has not been contributing to a pension plan in Cayman for at least 2 years. 

Cabinet will determine a date at which pension plan members will no longer be allowed to obtain a refund. Following that date, refunds will only be available under two circumstances:                                                              

1. At the administrator's discretion for commuted values of less than CI $5,000 (as allowed for in section 42 - cash out of small benefits).                        

2. If the value of the account is over CI$5,000 and (a) a member reaches age 65 and (b) wants to but is unable to transfer their pension benefit to an approved pension plan, retirement savings account or similar arrangement, or a life annuity.

EFFECTIVE 31 DECEMBER 2019

Reduces the possibility of pension members using up their pension benefits before retirement and depending on government for financial support. 
Caymanians that are under the age of 23 years old and in full-time education and have earnings are currently pensionable. Caymanians under the age of 23 years old and in full-time education are no longer pensionable. 

EFFECTIVE 1 MARCH 2017

This provision allows for students to have part time jobs and not be required to belong to a pension plan and have pension deductions. 
You are entitled to access your pension at 60 (Early retirement age 50). You are entitled to access your pension at 65 (Early retirement age 55). Persons presently 47 years old and younger will automatically fall under the new law. Persons presently 48 and older are grandfathered into the old law.

EFFECTIVE 1 JANUARY 2017

Longevity of people in today's society has increased, and in many instances, their willingness and ability to work longer to contribute to their own independence.
The yearly maximum pensionable earnings per year that employees and employers are required by law to pay pension on is currently CI $60,000. The yearly maximum pensionable earnings that employees and employers are required by law to pay pension contributions on is CI $87,000.

EFFECTIVE 1 JANUARY 2017

This allows an employee to build up more funds in their retirement account.
Member statements are currently required to be produced annually. Member statements are required to be produced semi-annually, and can be issued electronically with a member's consent.

DATE TO BE DETERMINED

At Chamber Pension, we have always produced our member statements semi-annually, with on-line access at any time.
Non-Caymanians must currently begin paying pension contributions by the first 9 months of their employment on Island.

Non-Caymanians begin paying pension contributions by the first 6 months of their employment on Island.

DATE TO BE DETERMINED

The intention was to tie this contribution period to the 6 month temporary work permit period.
Members are not able to transfer their deferred benefit to a plan administered under the Public Service Pensions Law.

Members are able to transfer their deferred benefit to a plan administered under the Public Service Pensions Law.

EFFECTIVE 31 DECEMBER 2017

 
In order for members to transfer their pension benefit outside of the Islands, they must have terminated their employment.

In order for members to transfer their pension benefit outside of the Islands, they must have (1) terminated their employment and (2) cessation of residence for two years and (3) made no contributions to a pension plan for two years.

EFFECTIVE 31 DECEMBER 2017

Extension of the period of non residency to two years.
Any access to additional voluntary contributions is upon attaining the normal retirement age of 60. 

Members are able to access their additional voluntary contributions prior to their pension entitlement for the following four reasons: housing, medical, temporary unemployment and educational purposes. At age 65 they will have access to all of it. 

EFFECTIVE 31 MARCH 2017

Encourages members to boost their pension contributions with the knowledge that they have access to it should they need to (and should they meet the requirements).
This summary is provided with our compliments and is exclusively for your personal use.  It contains proprietary information and all copyright therein is the property of The Trustees of The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Pension Fund.  Accordingly, any unauthorised reproduction, use or distribution is strictly prohibited. We make no warranty that this summary is free from error or omission and accept no liability for any loss, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising out of the use by an external party of the document or the information it contains.



Chamber Pension Plan released from government oversight

A government order issued more than two years ago, putting the Cayman Islands' largest private sector retirement savings plan under increased monitoring by government regulators, has been "concluded".

 

The National Pensions Office confirmed the lifting of the administrative order in correspondence Friday to Chamber of Commerce Pension Plan trustees.

 

The office did not state why it had concluded the order, which had been in place since early 2014, against the pension plan.

 

Former government Director of Labour and Pensions Mario Ebanks said in May 2014 that the pension plan, which covers about 17,500 private sector employees in the Cayman Islands, was initially placed under administration in February 2014 after its board of trustees failed to maintain a quorum of properly appointed members.

 

The order did not halt day-to-day operations of the investment plan, but it did restrict certain decision-making powers of the hamstrung board at the time.

 

When a full board was appointed in late May 2014, the administrative order was relaxed, but not ended.

 

Mr. Ebanks said at the time that the pension plan would still be required by the labor department to produce “a number of financial records”. Those records were to include a full forensic audit of financial controls and investment management processes used by the retirement, an actuarial evaluation, investment reviews and other records intended to show “corporate best practices”.

 

“We’re going to insist that [these evaluations] are carried out,” Mr. Ebanks said.

 

The Labour and Pensions Office did not express any specific concerns about the Chamber Pension Plan’s financial health at any time.

 

Chamber pension plan representatives indicated the remaining outstanding issues relative to government’s order were dealt with in January 2016 after “big four” accounting firm KPMG completed a review of the investment plan. The review concluded that the plan is currently operating reasonably and adequately.

 

The Chamber pension board of trustees provided a copy of that review to the National Pensions Office.

 

Board members indicated that 32 recommendations made in the KPMG report have been implemented to improve the management of the fund.

 

Section 70 of the National Pensions Law, which governs all private sector pensions in the Cayman Islands, allows the superintendent of pensions to make an order against any pension plan provider in cases where:

 

The pension fund is not being administered in accordance with local laws.

 

The pension plan itself is not in compliance with the laws.

 

The plan administrators, employers covered under the plan or anyone else involved with the plan is not following the law.



Change of equity allocation to member lifecycles

During 2016, the Trustees determined that a professional review of the structure and glide path design of the Plan’s Lifecycle funds would be appropriate to ensure that the Lifecycle funds continue to meet industry best practices.

 

The Trustees therefore contracted with Mercer Investment Consulting LLC, a world leader in pension plan  consulting and our financial consultants, to review the structure of the Chamber lifecycle funds and make recommendations to the Trustees.

 

Mercer’s study was guided by the primary goal of working to achieve a reasonable and sustainable income in retirement for our members. This involved incorporating a diversified asset allocation, reducing the risk of substantial losses as participants’ age while also protecting them against purchasing power erosion from inflation, accepting the necessary tradeoffs between risk and returns, and providing a solution not just to a member’s retirement date, but also for the rest of his or her life.

 

Mercer compared our plan to a survey of 45 other Target Date Funds. The study’s primary conclusion was that the existing glide paths of our Lifecycle funds were very conservative for nearly the entire age range. That is, with the exception of the very youngest workers, the percentage holdings of higher-return equities in each of our Lifecycle funds was significantly less than the median of the 45 other funds that Mercer surveyed. While these lower percentage holdings of equities do reduce the risk of principal losses in members’ portfolios, they also significantly reduce the opportunity for high returns; most especially so for mid-career wage earners.

 

After reviewing Mercer’s analysis and recommendations, the Trustees accepted a recommendation that increased the percentage of equity in all Lifecycles compared to the current Chamber Lifecycles. With this improvement, these new adapted Lifecycle’s structures continue to remain more conservative and have lower allocations to equity than the Mercer median, except for the youngest age group. The Trustees agree this continued conservative bias was appropriate given the demographics of the Cayman Islands workforce.

 

The table below shows the approximate percentage of equity holdings in the various portfolios as discussed above for selected ages.  

   

 

Approximate Percentage of investment portfolio in equity holdings

Age 20

Age 30

Age 40

Age 50

Age 60

Age 70

Age 80

Mercer median, 45 Target Date Funds

92%

92%

90%

76%

58%

43%

40%

 

CURRENT CHAMBER LIFECYCLE

90%

73%

57%

40%

25%

25%

25%

ADAPTED NEW CHAMBER LIFECYCLE

95%

93%

82%

63%

46%

35%

35%

 

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?

Members do not have to do anything for their allocations to change in line with Mercer’s recommendations. If a Member wishes to have a more conservative allocation, they should download the Employee Change Form to select a more conservative option. For further clarification, they may contact the hotline at 345-745-7630 or by email at admin@pensions.ky. 

WHAT DOES THIS CHANGE MEAN TO ME AND MY PENSION ACCOUNT?

The increase in equity holdings brings all Lifecycles more in line with pension industry best practices for Target Date Funds. While future results are not guaranteed, the new allocations should allow Members a better chance at reaching retirement with sufficient retirement funds.

WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

Members can call the Chamber Pension hotline at 745-7630 or email ADMIN@PENSIONS.KY with any questions. The Board of Trustees have implemented these changes in the interest of all Members of the Plan and the Trustees will continue to work on ways to maximise Members returns.



Chamber Pension welcomes new trustees

The Chamber Pension Plan Board of Trustees has two new additions, Paul McGeough and Bradley Kruger. Both individuals will be representing the Hospitality and Tourism sector. 

 



NEW SENIOR MANAGER FOR CHAMBER PENSION PLAN

06 March 2018

 

Cayman’s not-for-profit pension plan administrator, Chamber Pension Plan welcomes its new Senior Manager of Pensions, Saskia Stevenson.

 

No stranger to the organisation, Ms Stevenson has spent the last 12 years involved with Chamber Pension’s administration. Prior to this, pursued her primary and secondary education in Columbia, South Carolina before she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI) in 2013.

 

She is now responsible for overseeing all day-to-day activities of the Plan, as she takes on her new role following the retirement of Randall Fisher; previous Director of Operations.

 

“Randall spent four years as Chamber Pension’s Director of Operations, and we will miss him,” said Ms Stevenson. “We wish him all the best for a wonderful retirement, and we sincerely thank him for all of his hard work and fantastic knowledge here at Chamber Pension.”

 

Board of Trustees chairperson, Paul Schreiner, commented: “It is a fond farewell that we give to Randall, and a very warm welcome to Saskia. Randy was a valuable asset over the last three years, and the Board has sincerest gratitude for his hard work.”

 

Mr Schreiner continued: “We are also delighted to have Saskia’s strong educational background and in-depth pension knowledge.”

 

Ms Stevenson expressed that she was looking forward to working closely with the Board of Trustees: “I have worked with Chamber Pension since 2006, and I am eager to make meaningful contributions in my new role while staying true to Chamber Pension’s mission – to be a pension plan for the people, by the people.”

 



Welcome, Mario Ebanks

 

Mario Ebanks, former Director of the Department of Labour and Pensions and former Acting Superintendent of Pensions from 2012 to 2015, has been appointed recently as the Chamber Pension Plan’s newest Trustee.

 

Mr Ebanks is one of two Trustees appointed by the Chamber of Commerce to the Plan.

 

As a graduate of the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration, Mr Ebanks holds a BBA degree in International Finance and Marketing, with a minor in Economics. In 2002, he participated as a Deloitte scholar at the University of Tennessee’s Executive Master’s programme, where he attained his Master’s in Business Administration.

 

Mr Ebanks is also a member of the Cayman Islands Director’s Association and is an Accredited Director (ACC. Dir.) through the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA) Canada.

 

“Embarking on this new venture is truly a great honour,” said Mr Ebanks. “I am eager to continue my passion for effective retirement planning and income replacement for all employees in these islands, which is crucial for a territory which does not have income tax or social security. I look forward to working with my fellow Trustees, as well as the other stakeholders towards these important objectives.”

 

Mr Ebanks’ background in pensions encompasses his service with the Ministry of Community Development; a ministry previously responsible for Labour and Pensions. His aid from 1994 – 1997 led to the development and eventual passage of the National Pensions Law and Regulations.

 

“The recent appointment of Mr Ebanks is exciting news for Chamber Pension,” expressed Board of Trustees chairperson, Paul Schreiner. “We are all delighted to welcome him to the Board. Mario brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will greatly benefit the Plan, and we look forward to his contributions.”



Annual General Meeting 2018

All members of the Chamber Pension Plan are cordially invited to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) Wednesday, 5th December 2018 at the Chamber of Commerce Boardroom, Governors Square at 6:30PM.

In the event you are unable to attend the AGM, you are requested to appoint a proxy to vote in your place. Please complete the proxy form below and forward by fax to 345-745-7699; or in person to the Chamber Pension administration office, 90 North Church Street 2nd Floor; or by email to admin@chamberpension.ky; NO LATER THAN MONDAY December 3rd, 2018.

Download your AGM proxy form here.

 



BOARD OF TRUSTEES WELCOMES FLOW FINANCE DIRECTOR

14 June 2019

Chamber Pension Plan’s board of trustees welcomes FLOW Finance Director Giosino Colaicovo, who was appointed earlier this month following the term fulfillment of previous trustee, Derek Jones.  

Mr Colaicovo is one of two trustees appointed by the Chamber of Commerce under the terms of the Trust Deed. The board is made up of nine trustees who serve on a voluntary basis for three years. All are senior level executives and professionals from the business community.

“This is an exciting venture,” said Mr Colaiacovo. “I look forward to working alongside my fellow trustees to provide members of Chamber Pension with the best possible value and performance.”

Mr Colaiacovo moved from Canada to Grand Cayman in 2006 and currently manages FLOW’s financial functions.

“Mr Colaiacovo brings over 20 years of expertise in providing strategic commercial and operational support,” said Board of Trustees Chairperson, Paul Schreiner. “His background in accounting and finance will be greatly beneficial in delivering on the board’s strategic operational objectives.”

Mr Schreiner continued: “I would like to also thank Derek Jones for his own service to the board these past three years. We wish him a fond farewell and are grateful for the commitment and expertise he provided to the board and its members.”



Think in years, not months

It is important to think in years, not months.

Although markets can be volatile over the short-term, they have historically produced strong results over the long-term.

The performance table below shows a significant rebound from late 2018.

Always remain focused on staying the course to reap long-term gains.

 

PERFORMANCE SUMMARY - AS OF 31 MARCH 2019

Net of All Plan Expenses                  Annualized
 

3 MONTHS

YTD

1 YR

2 YR

3 YR

5 YR

INCOME CONSERVATIVE FUND*

4.40% 4.40% N/A N/A N/A N/A

INCOME GROWTH FUND

5.88% 5.88% 3.45% 3.87% 3.57% 2.47%

2030 FUND

8.35% 8.35% 3.44% 5.67% 5.46% 3.49%

2040 FUND

10.30% 10.30% 3.33% 6.81% 6.71% 4.16%

2050 FUND

11.59% 11.59% 3.28% 7.40% 7.34% 4.41%

2060 FUND**

10.00% 10.00% 2.52% 8.10% 8.05% N/A

 

* May 2018 was the first month of performance for the Income Conservative Fund

** March 2016 was the first month of performance for the 2060 Fund



CHAMBER PENSION PLAN WELCOMES MR. RANDALL FISHER AS NEW SENIOR MANAGER

The Chamber Pension Plan is delighted to announce that Mr. Randall Fisher has returned to the Plan and will serve as a Senior Manager in Business Management and Relationship Development. He previously served as Director of Operations between November 2014 and March 2018.

Mr. Fisher has over 25 years’ experience in financial services including in the National Pensions Office, so he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and an understanding of the requirements and regulations pertaining to pensions in the Cayman Islands.

Commenting on his return to the Chamber Pension Plan, Mr. Fisher said:

“I am pleased to be returning to the Chamber Pension Plan and working closely with the current volunteer trustees to ensure that the Plan continues to live up to its Mission Statement of providing the best-performing, most trusted pension plan for employees and businesses in the Cayman Islands, in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

 



Money left at the end of the month – why not invest?

It can be difficult to save money in an economic environment like the Cayman Islands. The cost of living and unexpected expenses can leave us with very little to spare at the end of the month.  

However, with some good budgeting and a little discipline it is possible to have money left over at the end of every month. Even cutting down on take-out coffees and bringing a packed lunch more often can translate into real savings when added up over the months. You can get more advice on saving money in our blog post Short term savings give long term benefits.   

Now you have started budgeting and are seeing the fruits of your discipline, it is worth considering how to make the most of it. Leaving it in your bank account to accrue interest might seem like the easiest option but with interest rates so low the return on your savings will take a very long time to add up. If this rings true to you, you need to seek an alternate solution to see your money grow. 

A far better idea is to put your money somewhere that will see it grow at a quicker rate, no matter how small the investment you may have available. However, for most of us the world of investments, stock and shares can seem a little daunting. Unless you are a trained investment analyst, buying stocks and shares can be a risky business and you may not have enough saved to cover the cost and fees 

Therefore, it is sensible to utilise the expertise of investment analysts and advisors who make a living out of choosing stocks and shares, specifically the investment analysts who work on behalf of the Cayman Chamber Pension Plan  

If you have some extra money available why not purchase additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) for your Chamber Pension Plan and let the experts decide which way the markets are moving. 

You can read more about AVCs in our blog post Why AVCs are a good idea. 

Making AVCs is a straightforward process. You can make AVCs simply by completing this application form and making a payment. This amount will then act as a top up to your regular pension contributions, and while you may only have a small amount of extra money over each month, if you make those extra contributions on a regular basis they will quickly add up. 

The internationally recognised investment managers who manage the Plan’s portfolio will then use money invested in your pension plan (i.e. your regular monthly contributions and those of your employer plus any AVCs) to invest into one of six LifeCycle Funds. Decisions are tailored to your investment needs, based on your age and estimated time until retirement. You can stipulate in which LifeCycle Fund you would like your AVCs invested and it does not need to be the same LifeCycle Fund as your required contributions. This means that all the money in your pension is working in tandem to ensure the best possible investment return for you. 

You can find out more about our LifeCycle funds and their investment objectives at the Our Results page 

Follow us on Facebook for more great tips on how to save your money and get the most from your monthly salary https://www.facebook.com/ChamberPensionPlan  



Think in years, not months

CHAMBER PENSION PLAN WELCOMES MR. RANDALL FISHER AS NEW SENIOR MANAGER

BOARD OF TRUSTEES WELCOMES FLOW FINANCE DIRECTOR

Annual General Meeting 2018

Welcome, Mario Ebanks

NEW SENIOR MANAGER FOR CHAMBER PENSION PLAN

Change of equity allocation to member lifecycles

Chamber Pension Plan released from government oversight

Pension Law Update - what are the proposed changes?

National Pensions Law update

Chamber Pension Plan "Life Stories" campaign to promote retirement planning

KPMG REPORT

Review and understand your insurance coverage

Where to put your cash now

How to manage your mortgage

Short term saving gives long term benefits

Who oversees our members’ interests?

Saving for a house or car

Why AVCs are a good idea

Get to know the National Pensions Law

How much money will I need when I retire?

Get involved with your pension plan: Vote for Trustees

How to teach your children good personal finance habits

Your pension belongs to you, not your employer

How to understand the performance of your pension plan

Chamber Pension welcomes new trustees

Money left at the end of the month – why not invest?