Singapore drops to No. 28 in global index for retirement security; 3rd in Asia

In one area for improvement, the study showed that relative to the other countries surveyed, a larger portion of Singapore's healthcare expenditure is not covered by insurance, even while Singaporeans have the seventh-highest life expectancy.
In one area for improvement, the study showed that relative to the other countries surveyed, a larger portion of Singapore's healthcare expenditure is not covered by insurance, even while Singaporeans have the seventh-highest life expectancy.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore slipped one spot to 28th place among 43 countries in the latest annual edition of a retirement security index.

Natixis Investment Managers' Global Retirement Index for 2018 also found Singapore coming in third for countries in Asia, behind Japan and South Korea, which placed 22nd and 24th respectively in the global ranking.

The index incorporates 18 performance indicators that examine the factors that drive retirement security. The performance indicators are grouped into four thematic sub-indices, which cover key aspects for welfare in retirement: the material means to live comfortably in retirement; access to quality financial services to help preserve savings value and maximise income; access to quality health services; and a clean and safe environment.

In the retirement finances sub-index, Singapore was knocked down to second place by New Zealand. Singapore lost the top spot due to lower indicator scores for government indebtedness, bank non-performing loans, old-age dependency and governance. New Zealand, to a lesser extent, also declined in some of these indicators, but this was offset by gains in the tax pressure indicator.

Overall, the countries in the top five remained the same as last year, but there was movement in the rankings.

Switzerland dethroned Norway to take spot, with the latter falling two places. Iceland moved up one rank to second place. Sweden and New Zealand rounded off the top five.

According to the report, the majority of the high-scoring countries in this year's index are relatively prosperous with advanced economies and institutions people generally trust.

Six of the top 10 had high income per capita scores, and seven are in the top 10 for governance. The countries in the top 10 also benefit from three strong main factors: Their social programmes, widely accessible healthcare and low levels of income inequality.

Despite Singapore's relatively strong showing, the report showed areas where its performance in retirement security could improve.

For example, relative to the other countries surveyed, a larger portion of Singapore's healthcare expenditure is not covered by insurance, even while Singaporeans have the seventh-highest life expectancy.

Madeline Ho, executive managing director and head of wholesale fund distribution, Asia Pacific, at Natixis Investment Managers, said: "The index points to a generally favourable financial infrastructure that provides long-term financial strength and stability, which is extremely important for the finances of retirees. The relatively stable macro socio-economic environment in Singapore over the years have also made it conducive for Singaporeans to take stronger ownership in planning for their retirement."