Between 2014 and 2015 the Board of the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund (CINSF) with the support of the Cook Islands Government, undertook a review of the CINSF and this included a survey of members, public consultation, and public meetings.
The findings were formulated into recommendations, these were then endorsed by Cabinet, and the CINSF went to work implementing those recommendations, such as the new investment options in 2015, the compulsory registration regulation from July 2016, the improvements to communications, the changes to the voluntary account in 2016, and the improvements to the Life Insurance this year.
The CINSF, through Crown Law, have prepared an amendment to the CINS Act 2000, to address the final recommendations from the review, these being portability of funds for members, and improvements to the Board composition. The amendment to the CINS Act 2000 is in submission to Cabinet for approval to proceed to Parliament.
The amendment is in line with the spirit of the CINS Act, being to provide for security in retirement, and whilst the provision remains for short term contract workers to withdraw their funds on their permanent departure from the Cook Islands, those members who are longer term contract workers, or ordinary Cook Island members, will now have a provision to transfer their superannuation investment to a superannuation scheme in a country they may permanently migrate to.
The amendment also provides for improvements to the CINSF Board composition. From July 2018 the CINSF will no longer receive budget support from Government for its operations, and with the removal of this support the requirement for the Financial Secretary as a mandatory position on the Board will also be removed. The Board will then be made up of 2 Member elected positions and 2 Employer elected positions, the provisions of the amendment will provide the Board the ability to appoint additional expertise to the Board based on specific Skills or Expertise that may be required from time to time.
The amendments to Sec.53 of the CINS Act 2000 also address the recommendations of the Privy Council relating to the forfeiture of a contract workers employer contributions.
A copy of the CINS Amendment Bill is attached for public viewing.