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Thailand's National Savings Fund to target students in membership drive, report says

By Asia Asset Management  
December 3, 2019

Thailand's National Savings Fund (NSF), a voluntary pension fund for self-employed workers, plans to grow its membership by 200,000 next year by attracting students, according to a report in local English language daily Bangkok Post.

It quotes NSF Secretary-General Jaruluk Ruangsuwan as saying that the fund hopes to particularly target vocational school students.

"We want this group [of students] – as most of them are already working and have higher ability to save money than other students – to be aware of the importance of savings," Ms. Jaruluk says.

She adds that the fund will be promoted in "every school next year to educate students about the importance of saving with the NSF".

The fund currently has 2.3 million members who have contributed a total 6.3 billion baht (US$208.20 million) since it was established in 2015, Ms. Jaruluk says.

NSF members can contribute any amount to the fund. The government matches up to 50% contributed by those between 15 and 30 years of age, to a maximum 600 baht a year per contributor, and up to 80% for those between 31 and 50 years old, up to 960 baht a year each. Contributions from those older than 50 are fully matched up to 1,200 baht a year for each contributor.

According to a fund manager at a Thai asset management firm, the NSF’s plan to target students is a good move to improve retirement savings in the country.

"When it comes to retirement savings, it is important to have an early start. However, I hope the NSF can take this opportunity to also educate its young members on the importance of investing," the Bangkok-based fund manager tells Asia Asset Management, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Today, it becomes increasingly difficult for a person to have a good retirement based on savings alone. One would need to invest in an optimally-diversified portfolio in order to achieve their retirement goals," he says.

Spokespersons for the NSF could not be reached for comment.