MP Sylvia Lim

Ms Sylvia Lim asked the Minister for Manpower whether the Government will amend the Central Provident Fund Act 1953 to provide for the automatic revocation of a nomination when the beneficiary becomes an ex-spouse following a divorce.

Dr Tan See Leng: The CPF nomination scheme provides CPF members with the option to nominate recipients of their CPF monies upon their demise and the proportion of savings each nominee should receive.

 CPF nominations are currently treated in the same way as wills. They are revoked upon marriage to give the member an opportunity to make a new nomination. Like wills, CPF nominations are not revoked in the event of a divorce as we recognise that the CPF member may still intend to provide for the ex-spouse and children from the marriage. Nevertheless, the CPF Board includes reminders to all members to review their nominations in their annual statement of account. The Board also intends to remind those members who have undergone divorce to review their nominations.

 CPF members should review and update their nominations when their life circumstances have changed. The CPF Board has enhanced the CPF nomination service to enable members to conveniently review their nominations and make changes securely, including via the CPF website.

 The Ministry of Law is studying whether to reform the rule in the Wills Act 1838 that provides for the automatic revocation of wills in the event of marriage. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the CPF Board will likewise study the CPF nomination rules, so that the policy remains relevant to the evolving needs and behaviours of our citizens.

Mr Speaker: Ms Sylvia Lim. 

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied): Thank you, Speaker. I have two supplementary questions for the Minister. 

Earlier in his answer, he mentioned that CPF Board intends to remind members who have gotten divorced to review their nomination. So, does he mean that CPF Board will keep track of divorce orders and and make sure that letters are sent to members who undergo divorce proceedings? That is the first question.

The second question is, I would urge actually, that CPF Board relook at this phenomenon where CPF nominations are not revoked upon divorce and one of the arguments which I hope the Board will consider is that, in a divorce proceeding, CPF funds are actually liable for distribution as matrimonial assets. So, in other words, spouses who have accumulated CPF funds during the marriage, at the point of divorce, it is up for division if the court feels it fit to award a spouse part or all of the CPF funds accumulated during matrimony of the other spouse. So, in that sense, an ex-spouse would already have his or her share of the CPF funds of the spouse at the point of divorce. So, it is actually not logical that most members would want the ex-spouse to have another legacy at the point of death when that spouse has already had the division of the CPF funds at the point of divorce. So, I hope the CPF Board will look into this as well.

Dr Tan See Leng: I thank the Member for her supplementary question. As I mentioned in my reply, from May 2023, that means in about a month and a half, the CPF Board intends to remind members who have undergone a divorce to review their nominations.

We are actually currently working with the relevant agencies for information on divorced members. Some of the points that the Member has brought up, are currently also being reviewed. So, the Member can appreciate the potential ramifications. If the Member so finds it suitable, after May, the Member can file another Parliamentary Question and we can update the Member on the status of that review subsequently.

Ministry of Manpower
20 March 2023

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