Wednesday, January 03, 2007

強積金的計劃經濟

特區政府一直強調「大市場、小政府」的運作原則,但有一項隱藏「政策」可能影響數以十萬計的上班族,甚至可能是計劃經濟再一次進襲。

在一片歌舞昇平之際,積金局建議調高月薪2萬至3萬元的供款上限至月供1,500元。或許大家認為問題不大,因為對那群上班族來說,月供款項亦不過佔其薪酬約5%而已,而且自己儲蓄更多,豈不更着數,因為上班族一份,老闆一份,變相有多一點作投資。

不過,禤中怡與財務策劃界的朋友談起,這位朋友卻大呻這項建議是破壞自由經濟。這位朋友指,一般上班族失去自由選擇投資的彈性外,強積金規定每月供款的資金不能隨意拿出來,須待65歲方可運用,反映這種政策缺乏靈活性。

其實,那份強積金的確不足以應付退休後的生活,尤其那些於30歲才開始參與強積金的,就會因供款年期較短,享受複式增長的時間相對也縮短,當然難望有顯著回報總額,而供款上限的調升幅度,其實是最高達50%(由1,000元增至1,500元),大家不要純粹單看金額。

或許可以話,政府鼓勵大家儲蓄,但如果真的懂得理財,根本不用政府來操心;不懂得理財的,只會依賴那份強積金,更不會考慮自行額外投資。其實,強積金一直有提供額外自願供款服務,上班族可視乎強積金回報表現作投資決定,毋須政府「欽點」,而且若硬性用老闆選擇的強積金供應商,即使有更好的投資機會也只有可能錯過。

更重要的是,增加一次就可增加第二次,像薪俸稅稅率上升將你「吸乾淨」,日後可能將月供款項上限逐步調高,因為增加供款,政府日後承擔的包袱定必減少,而且屬硬性規定,大家沒有逃避的空間,惟有做順民。

至於對經營強積金的公司來說,實在是不可多得的額外賞賜,因為不費吹灰之力,便可擴大其投資總額(Investment Pool),繼續收取「合理」的管理費等。

由於只有升無跌,故在逆境時,政府會否協助呢?試想想在沙士期間,有否調低供款額,幫助大家共度難關呢?

另一個副作用就是薪酬調整問題,試從老闆角度考慮,若老闆知道自己因調高員工薪金而增加強積金供款,必定會計算清楚,分分鐘將增加供款部分計入調高薪酬金額內,令實際加幅相對調低,變相令員工實質要自己供埋老闆那份強積金,每月「落袋」的金額反而減少。

禤中怡建議政府提高市民的理財概念,提高對退休早作準備的知識灌輸,例如從小學開始教導對金錢的運用,儲蓄投資的作用等等。當然,投資始終是很個人的問題,單單提高供款金額根本不能解決日後人口老化問題。

香港對外通訊後話
台灣一場地震,本港對外通訊能力即時受到考驗,尤其是寬頻上網服務大塞車。繼禤中怡早前話香港的公司大受影響後,近日再同業界朋友談起,他們話,其實香港恢復原來對外通訊的能力已算不弱,相反更有協助區內電訊營運商解決對外通訊問題,據聞台灣和南韓,甚至遠至菲律賓都有電訊營運商向本港電訊商求救。

對於近日多間電訊商聲稱已解決問題,朋友則提醒,所謂互聯網服務是否真正恢復,不能單看網絡容量(Capacity),即是網絡商提供多少網絡頻寬(bandwidth)去提供對外通訊服務,讓網民輕鬆登陸外國網站。

因為在海底電纜受破壞事件發生前,在一般正常情況下,本港接駁北美國際通訊服務的最佳方法,就是向東行,從香港將數據輸往台灣,然後經日本去美國,這樣傳輸最直接和數據流失最少;但海底電纜受地震影響損壞後,網絡商需要重新改變網絡路線,數據傳輸設定為繞過其他途徑,由不同路線接駁海外(例如向北起步,由中國輸送至俄羅斯後,經歐洲去美國東岸),雖然路線轉折,但起碼能解決通訊問題。

不過,即使你有這個傳輸能力,也要顧及在傳送過程中,數據亦會耗損,因為在這條路徑中可能出現阻礙,不一定能順暢地流通,或令部分所傳送的資訊流失,即是所謂的數據包流失 (Packet Loss) 問題就更嚴重,因為數據多以封包形式傳送,中間稍有流失便影響整個訊息能否完整顯示出來。此外,傳輸期間亦可能出現延遲(Latency),但不要小看延遲,原來即使是千分之一秒計的延遲,對一些以時間作準的系統來說,已會造成重大影響。

(1月3日刊於《am730》)

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