Hong Kong's Equal Opportunities Commission will look into possible discrimination against women in a new annuity scheme to be offered by the government-run Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation (HKMC).
The scheme, unveiled this month and capped at HK$10 billion (US$1.3 billion) in total, proposes that women receive about 10% less than men in monthly payouts. Due to women’s longer life expectancy, their return would be HK$450 to HK$530 per HK$100,000 premium paid – contrasting with HK$500 to HK$580 for men.
The Commission said it would obtain information on “the method employed to calculate the rates of return for male and female annuitants, whether the calculations are based on reasonable actuarial or statistical data and whether there is objective data to show that the policy would be detrimental to persons of a particular sex”.
The life annuity scheme will allow Hong Kong citizens aged 65 and above to make a lump-sum premium investment of a minimum of HK$50,000 and up to HK$1 million in return for a steady monthly payout. Financial Secretary Paul Chan, who is also HKMC chairman, said the internal rate of return of the scheme was preliminary estimated to be 3-4%.
HKMA aims to launch the scheme in the middle of 2018.