Tread with caution in plans to inject capital into stock market

The comment that the local stock market needs an injection of capital begs the question of "how much is enough?" ("Seeking capital to spur local stock market"; last Saturday).

There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

For example, it can be argued that it is unnecessary to inject capital into the local stock market, given that although the Straits Times Index has declined from its peak in 2015, it is still way above the bottom it made during the 2008-2009 sub-prime mortgage crisis.

On the other hand, people who wish for a stock market that rises unabatedly would argue that the current level of capital is not enough.

However, is this a reasonable wish? Doesn't historical data show us that the stock market moves in cycles, and that a "cooling down" or correction should always be anticipated after a period of exuberance?

The suggestion that "the more capital that flows into a stock market, the healthier it is" seems one-sided, because it is also true that an exuberant amount of capital flowing into a stock market is indicative of a bubble, and therefore, a reflection of an unstable and unhealthy market.

That said, I am concerned that an injection of Central Provident Fund (CPF) money into the local stock market could lead to an artificial bubble, and that when this bubble eventually bursts, CPF members could lose huge amounts of money, which, in turn could trigger social unrest.

The idea of setting up default pension plans within individual CPF accounts seems questionable.

Why do we need default pension plans within our CPF accounts when the CPF account itself is supposed to be the pension plan?

Indeed, wouldn't default pension plans make the institution of CPF redundant? Instead of employers and employees making contributions to CPF accounts, why not just "cut the middle man", and have the monies channelled directly to a default pension plan?

Chan Yeow Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Tread with caution in plans to inject capital into stock market'. Print Edition | Subscribe