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The Ageing Population and Retirement Protection

Due to low birth rates and increased life expectancies, Hong Kong is facing the challenge of a rapidly ageing population. As the population collectively grows older, the working population will have a much larger number of retirees to support.

Hong Kong’s Ageing Population

Percentage of the population over the age of 65
(excluding foreign domestic helpers)

2014: 15%

2064: 36%

Proportion of working population to retirees

2014: Each Retiree is supported by 5 working age adults

2064: Each Retiree is supported by 2 working age adults

Life Expectancy of Hong Kong People

Age 81.2
Age 86.9
Age 87
Age 92.5

The Launch of MPF System

In the World Bank’s 1994 report, "Averting the Old-Age Crisis: Policies to Protect the Old and Promote Growth", a three-pillar approach was recommended to protect the aged.


The “Three Pillars of Old Age Protection” as envisioned by the World Bank are:

1. a publicly managed, tax-financed social safety net;
2. a mandatory, privately managed, fully funded contribution scheme; and
3. voluntary personal savings and insurance.

The MPF System in Hong Kong was designed to form the second pillar of this approach: a mandatory, privately managed, fully funded contribution scheme.

To help the ageing workforce save for their retirement, the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (“MPFSO”) was enacted in 1995 and later supplemented by subsidiary legislation in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The MPF System was launched in December 2000.


In 2005, in the light of operational experience, the World Bank expanded the three-pillar framework into a five-pillar framework. The five pillars are: 

Pillar Zero: a non-contributory, publicly financed and managed system that provides a minimal level of protection for retirement;

Pillar One: a mandatory, contributory and publicly managed system;

Pillar Two: a mandatory, privately managed, fully funded contribution system;

Pillar Three: voluntary savings (e.g. personal savings and insurance); and

Pillar Four: informal support (e.g. family support), other formal social programmes (e.g. health care and housing), and other individual assets (e.g. home ownership). 

Nonetheless, the MPF System remains the Pillar 2 system of retirement protection in Hong Kong.


Employed Population Covered by Retirement Schemes

Before the implementation of the MPF System, only about one-third of the Hong Kong workforce had some form of retirement protection. With the MPF System in place, around 85% of the total employed population is now covered under either MPF schemes, ORSO schemes, or statutory pension or provident fund schemes (such as those for civil servants or public school teachers).

Employed Population by Type of Retirement Schemes*
(as at 31 Dec 2016)
Employed Population by Type of Retirement Schemes
Joined MPF schemes (73%)
Joined other retirement schemes (12%)
Not required to join any local retirement schemes (13%)
Should join but have not yet joined any MPF schemes (3%)

* Percentages may not sum up to 100% due to rounding.

Last Revision Date: 27/02/2017