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S&P: Performance review of MPF and HKSFC

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According to a recent analysis conducted by Standard & Poor's Fund Services, the leading provider of fund research and analysis globally, the average MPF fund posted a loss of -13.65% since its inception in February of 2001. As compared to retail funds that are authorized for sale in Hong Kong by the HKSFC, which lost 17.63% in the same period, MPF funds' performance is slightly better, being more conservative in their risk level.

"To evaluate the performance of pension investments over a relatively short timeframe is never easy, the key reason being that such funds are intended to have a longer investment horizon," Mr. William Reidy, Managing Director of Standard & Poor's Investment Services for the Asia-Pacific, commented. "In addition, with MPF being a monthly contribution scheme, the volatility of the funds is reduced since a dollar-cost averaging strategy is employed. The investment costs and therefore risk faced by the employees is lowered."

In terms of sectors that have shown strong performance in the past 2 years, fixed income funds in both the MPF and HKSFC fund universe have done very well in view of the bearish equity market conditions that had persisted for almost 3 years. Other sectors in the HKSFC fund universe that have posted above-average returns include gold and precious metals funds, property funds, as well as Thailand and Indonesian equity funds, although the latter two are still in the red over the three-year period.

The best-performing sectors amongst HKSFC-authorized retail funds over the past 2 years include:

As for the MPF universe, fixed income global funds have led the way by producing an average return of 15.68% since the inception of the MPF Scheme. The Korean equity category, having slipped quite a bit over the past 6 months, still produced a cumulative return of 10.40%. Conservative, low-risk sectors such as money market funds also did well, producing cumulative returns varying from 2% to over 5%, depending on the currency invested.

As to the market outlook for 2003, Mr. Reidy commented, "Standard & Poor's investment-policy committee sees a 15% rise in both the S&P500 and Nasdaq, mainly a result of an improving economic environment and better corporate earnings. Sectors that we are optimistic on include consumer-discretionary as well as energy and materials. Funds invested into these industries should be worth looking at in 2003."

--www.theasianbanker.com (January 14, 2003)--

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