Membership of the Fund is compulsory for all employees in employment in the Cook Islands or employed outside the Cook Islands by an employer resident in the Cook Islands.
You do not have to join the Fund if you are:
- 60 or older;
- under the age of 18;
- over the age of 55 at the time you are required to join and you elect in writing not to join, or
- a member of an existing superannuation scheme as determined by the Board.
If you are exempt from joining the Fund but would still like to join, you may do so, except if you are a GSF member. Your employer is also required to contribute at the specified rate.
All employers with employees employed in the Cook Islands or outside the Cook Islands while resident in the Cook Islands, must contribute to the Fund unless they qualify for a specific exemption.
All contributions to the Fund are recorded in specified accounts held in your name.
The accounts are:
- Compulsory Account – this records all contributions you make as an employee and all your employer’s contributions. For administration purposes these amounts are recorded separately.
- Voluntary Account – records any additional contributions you choose to add to the Fund. The balance of your Voluntary Account is paid out as a cash lump sum at any time of your choice or on your retirement. See Voluntary Contributions section for more information.
- Pension Account – records the amount transferred from your Compulsory Account when you retire and become eligible for a pension.
As well as the contributions paid into these accounts, interest will be added to each account provided that your nominated CINSF Investment Fund has a positive earnings rate. The amount of interest added will depend on how much your nominated CINSF Investment Fund earns each year, after paying the expenses of the Fund, and on how much is in each of your accounts. It is possible that your CINSF Investment Fund could have a negative interest rate. When this happens the value of your accounts may go down.
All amounts held in Pension Accounts are invested in the CINSF Conservative (Default) Fund.
Just because you’re changing jobs doesn’t mean you need to you change your membership number or miss out on contributions. During your working life you may work for different employers at the same time or may change jobs. Each time you start work for a new employer you must show them your membership card with your membership number on it. Your new Employer will then ensure contributions on your behalf are forwarded to the CINSF Office with the correct membership details. When you leave an employer you do not have to do anything. The contributions invested in your name will remain in the Fund to be added to when you start working for a new employer.