The chief executive officer of the Cook Islands Superannuation made the comments during a webinar presentation on “Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 – Social security and provident funds in the Pacific”. The webinar was organised by the International Social Security Association (ISSA) alongside other chief executive officers of superfunds in the Pacific.
Beddoes said: “The good thing was that the government think tank determined that members should not withdraw any funds from their superannuation investment, that the purpose remained for long term and also recognised the fund had already taken a substantial valuation hit from global market down turn.”
The government determined that the wage subsidy removed the need for members to draw their savings, he said.
International Social Security Association’s Jens Schremmer welcomed Beddoes’ account saying this is an example of having higher compliance and an impressive response orchestrated by government in the core role of the fund.
“Quiet an interesting example on how you are able to influence the Fund against political pressure not only this time but for the last years, I believe it would be an interesting case to share not only in the Pacific but beyond. Because during these times big funds in the country are of interest to government in terms of finance,” Schremmer said.
Beddoes told the participants that the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund is 20 years old and the current balance is about NZ$200 million.
The fund has approximately 12,000 members of which almost 7000 members are actively contributing.
He explained that in terms of the Fund’s support measures during this time, superannuation contributions reduced from five to one per cent for three months than three per cent to one per cent for six months.
But beginning this month, Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund now requires businesses presumed to not have been severely impacted by the downturn to resume their contributions and those of their employees to five per cent of their earnings.
To continue contributing to the Fund at one per cent, a business must have received approval for a government Covid-19 grant or assistance from the wage subsidy scheme as of March 31 or later.