SMRA interest rates, on the other hand, are pegged to the 12-month average yield of 10-year Singapore government securities plus 1%. The anchor was 2.72% in May and is around 3% based on the latest CPF estimates.
As these are lower than the floor rates for the CPF accounts, the interest rates for the ordinary account and the SMRA are maintained at 2.5% and 4% respectively.
“Despite the low interest rate environment since the global financial crisis, the government has continued to pay generous interest rates due to floor rates,” Dr Tan said.
“If the indexed rates exceed the floor rates, members will therefore benefit from higher interest rates on their CPF savings.
“Members can also transfer funds from their regular account to the special or retirement account to receive the highest risk-free rate,” he added. “I want to emphasize that it is risk-free.”
LONG TERM RATES: MINISTER
Mr. Chua asked in a supplementary question what would be the obstacle for the government to consider granting additional interest rates. He also noted that local banks have been raising interest rates on their savings accounts in recent days, and asked if that would prompt the CPF board to review its peg formula.
Dr. Tan said the CPF system aims to give members better security in long-term retirement and old age, while the bank accounts mentioned by Mr. Chua are short-term and volatile instruments.
“CPF interest rates … continue to be attractive,” Dr Tan said, reiterating that CPF floor rates are higher than the rates to which they are pegged.
The minister also pointed out that the CPF rates are not subject to any other conditions, while the promotional rates for bank accounts are conditional on customers meeting criteria such as minimum spend on credit cards or credit of salaries to their accounts.
“These benefits are not uniformly applicable to all balances of all depositors,” he said.
CPF interest rates are reviewed periodically. The interest rates for the Ordinary Account, the Special Account and the MediSave Account are reviewed quarterly, while the interest rate for the Retirement Account is reviewed annually.