Thursday, June 11, 2009

銀行自己做受益人

豬流感迫埋身,大家要小心。禤中怡的朋友往泰國曼谷外遊,本來盡興而回,可惜見到機上的外國乘客咳個不停,卻未見戴口罩,已心知不妙,即使自己已做足防禦措施,如全程戴口罩,豈知身體還是不適,私家醫生著速往醫院,令朋友見識大場面。

朋友話在醫院無需等分流,護士甚至不准旁邊的病人埋身,還要在一身保護裝備的醫護人員陪同下,經過特別通道和電梯,在閉路電視監控的獨立房間內,等候快速測試,初步看肺部正常,但需隔離至今日中午方能「獲釋」,幸好有一部電視機解悶,可惜錯過了醫院提供的膳食,但竟然准許叫外賣!

那麼旅遊保險是否受保呢?資深保險朋友話,若果在旅遊地點先看醫生,相信有得賠的機會很大,可惜已回港多時,難獲賠償矣!

講起保險,原來也可以幫公司搵錢,特別是近期市場焦點的美國銀行業,原來他們為員工提供人壽保險服務,但變相可以從中獲得收益,支付高層員工的獎金和退休金等,果然是金融奇才。

資料顯示,美國銀行(Bank of America)擁有的員工人壽保險規模最大,今年首季尾便有173億美元(約1,349.4億港元)。美聯銀行(Wachovia Corp.)持有120億美元(約936億港元),而摩根大通(J.P. Morgan Chase)也有111億美元(約865.8億港元)等。

那麼銀行靠甚麼獲得收益呢?《華爾街日報》發現,原來銀行為員工買保單時,銀行自己就是保單受益人!銀行首先將錢存入類似不扣稅的個人退休計劃內,然後利用稅務漏洞和複雜程序,日後當員工、前員工和退休人員去世時,僱主可獲免稅的死亡撫恤金,用作支付管理層的福利。有人批評這種做法變相獲稅項減免,用作支付管理層的退休金。

雖然美國國會早於06年已經規定,公司只限為薪酬排名前三分一的高級管理人員買人壽保險,而有關員工亦須同意方可購買,但在法例實施前所購買的人壽保險,則不受有關規定影響。

除了美國國際集團(AIG)、房利美(Fannie Mae)、房地美(Freddie Mac)這些金融機構外,原來大型企業也用此方法,只是銀行需披露而已。以截至08年底計,銀行共持有1,223億美元(約9,539億港元)的員工人壽保險,較04年底所持的658億美元(約5,132億港元)增長近86%。所以見到那些大型銀行情願快速集資,盡快償還政府提供的資金,當然是想擺脫政府的控制,且看無份還錢的花旗(Citi Group)和美銀,其總裁Vikram Pandit和Kenneth Lewis會否像AIG和通用汽車(GM)頭頭般,被政府轟下來。

話說回來,大家還記得香港旅遊發展局及平等機會委員會的頭頭,都被揭發獲有關機構買入巨額保險而引來詬病嗎?如果份保險受益人是機構本身,可能又是另類投資,分分鐘不用政府撥款,單靠筆保險賠償便已大賺!

(6月11日刊於《am730》)

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