The Hong Kong government's HK$10bn ($1.27bn) public annuity scheme got off to a slow start last Thursday (19 July), the first day for the public to sign up for the plan.
Although all major lenders, including HSBC, Hang Seng Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Bank of East Asia, have opened special counters to accept applications, the South China Morning Post reported that its journalists noticed only a few investors had showed up at these banks’ branches in the busy districts of Central, Admiralty and Mong Kok. The situation was also noted by other media organisations.
The scheme, which is open until 8 August, allows those aged 65 or above to invest between HK$50,000 to HK$1m in exchange for a lifelong monthly payment.
A spokesman for HKMC Annuity, which runs the scheme, declined to the reveal the total subscription amount for last Thursday, saying that the figure will be only announced after the end of the registration period.
A HK$1m single premium contributed to the scheme would earn HK$5,300 every month for women and HK$5,800 a month for men. The lower figure for women takes into account their longer life expectancy. The minimum investment of HK$50,000 would earn HK$265 a month for women and HK$290 for men.
Hong Kong has 1.3 million people who are 65 or older . This age group forms 18% of the total population at present, a proportion expected to increase to 31% by 2036.