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Questions for Tonga Superannuation Fund Agency


Dear Editor

What...’s happening with the Government Superannuation Fund?

Please publish this letter in your paper for anyone to comment on. I am hopeful that the Superannuation Fund Agency (SFA) will respond to this letter. I was a government employee in Tonga for almost 10 years. I am now residing in Australia as an Australian citizen.

I have a few questions for the Superannuation Funds Agency:

1. Are you distributing any Superannuation Fund statements to the members?

From what I recall, the SFA is supposed to send out a financial statement every 6 months to its members. This statement should include the member...’s donation (compulsory and voluntary), the government contributions, administration fees, etc.

I have not received a single statement since I left the Tongan public service in 2001.

2. How much funds have been collected by the SFA since its inception and where is it?

As a member, I think I am entitled to know where my funds are being invested and if there...’s any return on these investments. I would like to know if the administering fees I...’m paying is put into good use at all. In short, I...’m only asking for some transparency in the SFA...’s service delivery.

I vaguely recall that some funds were invested in the AMP and I know that AMP had a big dive a couple of years back. How did that impact our funds?

3. Are there any public contact points for the SFA?

For those of us overseas, it is a problem to contact some of the departments in Tonga. If there is a website, that would be great, otherwise some email addresses would be very helpful.

I would like to opt for my SFA statements to be send to Australia, if that...’s possible.

4. Is it possible to take out my entitlements before I...’m 60?

I am no longer a Tongan, as dual citizenship is out of the question. I am an Australian citizen now (not quite by choice but by circumstance).

What are the ways that are allowed for withdrawing before turning 60?

There will be a considerable time and money (admin costs) saved if they pay me out. Besides at the rate the Tongan currency is devaluing, I would be at a tremendous loss.

I must say, however, that I admire the effort that the SFA is putting into what they do, after all, we do trust them to carry out their tasks to the best of their abilities and to all that they have sworn to do when they became established public servants.

My humble request is that the SFA show a bit more transparency and accountability.

May I take this final sentence to request the Editor of the Matangi Tonga, if it is not too much hassle, to forward this outcast...’s concern to the Government Information Unit at the Prime Minister...’s Office requesting them to publish some information on their website about the fore-mentioned queries?

Kindest Regards

Curious from Australia

PS: Dear Editor, My utmost thanks to you for a wonderful paper and a fantastic website. Go Matangi Tonga.


Retirement Fund can't find some members - Michael A. Bloomfield, Member Services Center, Retirement Fund Board, Nuku‘alofa:
Dear Curious from Australia,

Let me remind you that the name is Retirement Fund Board and not the Superannuation Fund Agency (SFA). However, I find it rather ironic that someone requesting transparency and accountability from the Retirement Fund Board hides behind a pen name. According to policy, the Fund has been distributing the Members Benefit Advice on a six monthly basis. The exercise is possible only because the Fund can easily locate these Members at individual Government Ministries/Departments and some with overseas forwarding address.

Civil Servants who have left the Civil Service, especially overseas are much harder to locate thus in some cases their Benefit Advices are not possible to be distributed. During the many seminars and workshops that the Fund have carried out since inception, it was requested that those Civil Servants who will be leaving the Service, especially overseas prior to retirement age should advise the Fund with a forwarding address for the purpose of distributing their Benefit Advices every six months. I am sorry that I was unable to distribute your Benefit Advice, as I do not have a name or address in Australia.

The Fund submits its Annual Report to Parliament every year and once passed, they are distributed to individual Government Ministries/Departments. The Annual Reports includes the Audited Annual Accounts for the year ended together with statements regarding the Board…’s operations and investment portfolio. The Board has a website which has been in operating since 2003. All your queries can be answered with information contained within the website; .

Your statement regarding the Fund…’s investment with AMP is erroneous. AMP was contracted by the Australian Government in 1996-1999 to assist with the design of the Retirement Fund Board Legislation and set up the operations only. All Fund investments are conducted locally.

As a deferred Member of the Fund, you are welcome to ask as many questions you like by writing, telephone or fax directly to our Member Services Center.

Regards - Michael A. Bloomfield, Member Services Center, Retirement Fund Board, Nuku‘alofa