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CPF – F1 or F9? Nominations are secret?

By Leong Sze Hian

CPF members can make a revocable nomination for a CPF Investment Scheme policy and, upon death, the death benefit will be paid to the named beneficiaries, and not distributed according to the member's CPF nomination.

I understand that when a CPF member dies, his or her CPF nominees' identities and percentage of distribution are not revealed.

I believe there may be some instances of deceased's families being financially and emotionally stressed when they are unable to determine who the nominees are.

If distribution of a deceased's estate to beneficiaries is public information when one dies with a will or intestate, why is it that CPF nominations are kept a secret?

Some may have to live with the anguish of never knowing who inherited their loved one's CPF. The case of the Singaporean husband who committed suicide and left 30 per cent of his CPF to a foreign pub-waitress girlfriend, which sparked the debate in the media about CPF nominations, may never have come to light had there not been a coroner's inquiry.

The procedure for nomination is to print the form from the CPF website and get two witnesses who are not nominees to witness the member's signature. The completed form can be posted to the CPF Board.

Although the board sends an acknowledgement by post to the member's residential address, there is always the possibility of fraud or duress in the nomination process.

I would like to suggest that the veil of secrecy on nominations be removed, if so requested by immediate family members, upon the member's death.

This may prevent situations where the family has to ask around, and rely on the honesty of those asked, to try to figure out how the CPF was distributed.

Are there other countries in the world that keep such pension distributions a secret? What is the norm?

For more of Sze Hian's writings, visit his website here.