Malaysia’s retirement income system has been ranked third in Asia and 19th overall by the 12th annual Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index, a study of 39 retirement income systems across the globe which cover almost two-thirds of the world’s population.
However, Malaysia’s overall index value fell slightly from 60.6 in 2019 to 60.1 in 2020 due to several small movements in the sustainability sub-index, Mercer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, said in a statement.
“Of the study’s three sub-indexes, Malaysia scored highest for integrity (78), followed by sustainability (58.6) and adequacy (50.1). The global average sits at 71.3 for integrity, 50 for sustainability, and 60.8 for adequacy,” it said.
The 2020 Global Pension Index, which measures each retirement system through three sub-indices, namely sustainability, adequacy and integrity, includes two new systems — Belgium and Israel. The report stated that Malaysia is ranked 13th for sustainability which measures the likelihood a system will be able to provide benefits into the future; 18th for integrity which considers factors such as regulation, governance, communication and operating costs; and 31st for adequacy which looks at benefits, system design, levels of savings, and home ownership among others to determine its ability to provide adequate retirement income.
Mercer’s wealth business leader for Asia Janet Li said it is heartening to see that Malaysia continues to rank above the global average for integrity and sustainability. The overall index value for the Malaysian system could be improved by increasing the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals, as well as raising the level of household saving and lowering the level of household debt.
“As life expectancy increases, the pension age should also be raised. A requirement that retirement benefit must be taken as an income stream should also be considered,” she said. According to the report, Malaysia retained its ‘”C+” grade, connoting a pension system that has some good features, but also major risks or shortcomings that should be addressed. “The country was awarded the same grade as a number of developed economies such as Hong Kong, France and the United States,” it added.