No need for pension swap

| 01/09/2010

(CNS): A motion filed in the Legislative Assembly by the government’s George Town backbench MLA, Ellio Solomon, is both completely unnecessary and nothing more than a political manoeuvre, the opposition has said. Alden McLaughlin criticised the motion by Solomon which proposes to allow Caymanians to swap their pensions for a home loan and take up to $35,000 from their pension to use as a deposit for a house or land. The former Cabinet minister said there are already various schemes in place to help people find capital for property and that there is no need to encourage them to put their pensions at risk.

The opposition member for George Town pointed out that the government’s mortgage guarantee programme is just one example where the government is already helping people with deposits for their own home. McLaughlin said he could see no reason why people should have to take money from their pensions to buy homes as there are lots of ways that government is already assisting and guaranteeing people to get mortgages through other means.
Only last week two more banks joined the mortgage assistance programme, which eliminates the need for Caymanians to have a deposit so long as they can meet the full mortgage payments, which is essentially doing the same thing as Solomon has suggested.
The private member’s motion, which has been tabled in the Legislative Assembly by former radio talk show host Solomon and backed by Bodden Town MLA Dwayne Seymour, asks the government,of which he is a member,  to consider amending legislation to allow Caymanians to make a one-time withdrawal of up to CI$35,000 from their pension for the sole purpose of providing a deposit to a local financial institution towards the purchase of either a parcel of land, or the construction of a new home or an existing residence or apartment in the Cayman Islands.
“Given the range of programmes in place to assist first time Caymanian homeowners, this seems hugely unnecessary and merely a political manoeuvre,” the PPM member stated.
McLaughlin explained that the Government Guaranteed Home Assisted Mortgage, or GGHAM, which was created by the PPM during the last administration, had been established for the very reason of dealing with the deposit problem. He said first time buyers could get up to $200,000 without a deposit under the scheme and some 260 people have already taken up the offer and more money had just been pledged to ensure the successful programme would continue.
He said there were other schemes as well, such as the removal of stamp duty for land under 75,000 and other guarantees to assist Caymanians with property acquisition who could afford to pay a mortgage.
He said that taking money from your pension at 25 may seem beneficial but would lead to problems down the line and government was already heavily burdened with the needs of those who had ended their working lives with insufficient coverage.
“I know things are hard but this proposal makes no sense,” McLaughlin maintained and said the more pressing problem was helping those in homes keep them, He claimed this scheme did nothing to assist those who owed property who were trying to save them but was about creating new home owners.
McLaughlin said it was a radical proposal to take money from a long term investment such as a pension when there were several other avenues that potential home owners could pursue. 
Solomon has argued in other media that home ownership was about people’s future and if they owned a property at retirement that would be half of their living expenses taken care of when they were pensioners. 
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  1. Dred says:

    CNS: Any update on this in the house? I’ve been looking but haven’t seen anything on it.

    Also something for people who do not know what is actually happening on the ground floor. You know the precious NHD system? Well many banks are tapped out on the program already as they have reached their 5Mil threshold. So this might well be the only way some people will get a home. 

    CNS: The motion was passed but there are no details on what happens next —  the motion was just proposing that government look at the possibility. Rolston Anglin said Thursday that the pension law is being fully overhauled

  2. Anonymous says:

    Go ahead, listen to a man who led this country into its present sorry financial state. My God , it’s like listening to the slurred words of an alcolholic proffering advice about how to give up the bottle. Alden, exactly how idiotic do you assess the people of the Cayman Islands to be, pray tell us.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can we hear a testimonial from an average citizen that has actually retired since the mandatory pension plan came into effect. I’m betting they still have to work elsewhere to make ends meet.

    We give these pension companies free reign to lose our hard earned money and believe it or not the government mandates that we pay them to do it.

    The whole system needs a review. I know everyone had good intentions but when do we take a stand and stop these leeches from sucking us dry while they lose our hard earned money in some far off country?

    Elio and Arden you both have good points but we are missing the real problem here which is that the longer we keep doing what we are doing in allowing these pension companies to squander our money, there won’t be any pension when we are ready to retire or we will still need a full time job to make ends meet.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can we hear a testimonial from an average citizen that has actually retired since the mandatory pension plan came into effect. I’m betting they still have to work elsewhere to make ends meet.

    We give these pension companies free reign to lose our hard earned money and believe it or not the government mandates that we pay them to do it.

    The whole system needs a review. I know everyone had good intentions but when do we take a stand and stop these leeches from sucking us dry while they lose our hard earned money in some far off country?

    Elio and Arden you both have good points but we are missing the real problem here which is that the longer we keep doing what we are doing in allowing these pension companies to squander our money, there won’t be any pension when we are ready to retire or we will still need a full time job to make ends meet.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A home will not miraculously translate into a steady income once you retire. There will be NO inflows of money coming in from your home once you are no longer working.

    Realistically at the levels of salary the traditional working class Caymanian makes you are talking about appx $1,000-$3,000(depends on current pension levels, life expectancy, rate of returns etc)/month once you reach the retirement age of 65. That is hardly enough to have much quality of life as is. So with as little as our current pensions untouched will return to us. Can you imagine once you dip into that pool of funds how little there will be left to sustain you for the next 10-15 years? What happens then ———- SOCIAL SERVICES ie Government will have to bear the burden for all those "entitled" to owning a home and who cannot afford the down-payment. We are already aware of the financial difficulties that we are in. With no additional revenue streams and constant wasteage and mismanagement of government funds, I for one will NOT be depending on any hand outs from Government because there wont be anything to get.

    Government should not be encouraging this short sighted, entitlement way of thinking. Caymanians need to break free from the strangle hold of being entitled and learn to earn their way. As a Caymanian myself those comments are aimed at those who should know who they are. It is not idle talk that there are several personal loans taken out to fund vacations!!! Yes people there IS something wrong with taking out a personal loan to fund a vacation!!!! We have to learn from our grandparents and great grand parents who took great pride in working hard for what they had. If you cannot afford the down-payment, then do what most hard working  non-entitled people would do-SAVE!!! Set a goal and work towards it.

    So not only will I not touch my pension, I am also setting aside extra money to supplement the measly amount that I will be getting in the first place. I am also doing my children a favour by teaching them prudent money management skills. We are woefully lacking as a Country in this area., but that is whole other can of worms!

    • Anonymous says:

      Pardon me, are we saying that home-ownership from as early an age as possible is somehow disadvantagious? And that paying rent for longer than necessary is somehow condusive to future financial well-being? For God’s sake, get yourself on the property ladder asap, you twenty/thirty (and later!) somethings, and look forward to (total) home ownwership as soon as you can to your retirement age. And another thing, forget the luxury trappings when you build. You can save up for them rather than pay for them over 30 years on your mortgage (the bank won’t concur, of course!).  Do you really believe that the reduction to your monthly pension remunaration in thirty years time  – if you  were to drawdown on the pension deposit at present to enable you to pay a deposit and get on the property ladder – would somehow leave you worse off? Folks, no investment fund  (eg your pension contribution) ever outstrips – in the long run – property value appreciation. You will always end up further ahead having made mortgage payments. I retired at 51, having bought my first home at 25 on a mortgage, and am now (by the Grace of God) living in a $1.2 house paid off, with two other properties on mortgage and rented, and a piece of land on Little Cayman paid off. Believe me, property ownership, at whatever level, it really doesn’t matter, is your passport to success and future financial security. Start investing folks, and all the best. PS At least invest in a piece of land somewhere (no insurance and steady appreciation!)


      • Dr. Pepper says:

        "no investment fund ever outstrips – in the long run – property value appreciation." – Just nonsense.  Most equity based investments vastly out perform property in the long term.  Investing right now in property in Cayman is riskier than a night out in Vegas.

        • Dred says:


          You are so far off cue it’s not funny.

          Investing in a home will almost always pay off. For now you think about your pensions and how much you lost because you withdrew some but think about having to pay rent still when you are 60.

          There is NOTHING and I say NOTHING better than having your own property paid off at 65 when you retire. This for a second how much you will get back if you do not do this per month. Now take away from that outflow of funds CI$1,200 to CI$1,600 a month in rent. How much are you left with monthly?

          If you own your own place you are only covering utilities and food and odds and ends monthly as opposed to having to pay for shelter.

          You are a very short sighted person with literally NO END GAME clue at life.

          So what is it? Are you planning on staying with your children when you retire? You know how much strain that places on your kids? You know how many kids out of say 10 wants their inlaws staying with them? The answer is 0.

          Stop the BS. If a person has a chance at getting their home GIVE it to them. It is actually a better alternative Social Services wise in the end.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Your pension money is YOUR money. There is no particular reason in this tax free jurisdiction for it to be inaccessible for years–except as a form of forced savings to avoid the necessity of public welfare payments in the future (also, apparently, to produce fee income for the administrators.) To the extent that the money is used to help people into home ownership it has the same effect by helping them acquire shelter for their declining years without reliance on the government. It is difficult to make a case that market investments are safer or more reliable than home ownership IMO so what is the problem? Oh, I know what it is–the people are too stupid to be allowed access to their own money.  That seems to be the underlying point of the thumbs down.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course it is your money. Your employer took 5% of your salary, probably against your will, matched the deduction and gave it to a pension fund to invest.

      After many years off poor market returns, your pension has grown to $35,000.

      Now tell me why it is a good idea to give you this lump sum that has been save up using 5% of your salary when you have saved absolutely nothing from the 95% of your salary that you had full access to over the years?

  7. Ray says:

    If this proposal goes through, then anyone taking advantage of it should have to sign a binding agreement with the Govt. that they will abide by the Social Services requirement to give the Govt. a lien on their property should they require financial assistance in their old age. Maybe the lien should be from the beginning.

    By the way how is this to be controlled? What if pension funds are removed, a property purchased and then sold in the future? What will happen to those funds? Who will control/guarantee that they are reinvested into another home, etc.?

  8. Mick Jagger says:

    This whole concept brings us full circle back to what got us in this mess in the first place, the old Caymanian tradition of having to have what we can’t afford.

    Rest assured that if you can’t afford the down payment, you certainly can’t afford the insurance premiums and ongoing upkeep cost. You are better off renting and there is plenty available!

    Leave your pension alone, one day you will be thankful as unlike all those who went before there was a pension requirement and are now a financial burden on society, you will at least have something to live off of in your retirement years, even if it’s not much.

    "You can’t always get what you want"

  9. Anonymous says:

    ahhh Elio, It’s not as simple as you thought is it? Here is the Man whom, as a radio talk show host, turned people against the new schools and education reform and promised to be the champion of first time home owners. Well, guess what? He is now coming to the realization that he is not as smart as he thinks. He has no answers for our issues. His best proposal after being elected is to "talk" those that are uninformed out of their pension in an attempt to score political points.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the above comment; in my opinion pension should not be touched until retirment (private sector – age 50 or 60) additionally i think the pension age should be extended like most countries 55 or 65) people are remaining in the work force longer.

    The pension holiday and the recent proposed withdrawl is actually taking away from the employee and their beneficary; we are just trying to get use to the Pension holiday (approximately 4 months) and now we are looking to cut into the needed pension – ask yourself this question, what was the intent of the pension in the first place? you have people looking to withdraw their pension for a pair of eye glasses, if you should go bankrupt your pension is protected by law, if you need to access your pension to purchase a house or land then you just can’t afford the purchase.  The best thing to do is save towards the investment, it may take longer but safer in the long term.

    This is not a good move people. If pension was not mandatory how many  would have really put something aside for their retirment; government can afford to take care of all of us so we have to look for other ways to take care of ourselves. I would like to own a home too but this is not the answer. 

  11. Karyll Iton says:

     In actuality, if I remember correctly,  in the US if you withdraw from any tax deferred retirement vehicle (e.g. IRA or 401k) before age 59 and 1/2, there is a 10% tax penalty. So they treat pensions as "holier than thou" too.

    What is the real problem to me isthat our pensions law limits maximum bond exposure to 40% and maximum stock exposure to 70%. In my humble opinion a device where capital conservation is priority should have those percentages reversed.

    • Pauly Cicero says:

      Plus taxes at your normal rate. You stand to lose about half of your withdrawal making it a last resort sort of withdrawal. Some plans allow a partial penalty-free withdrawal for certain medical or homebuying needs.

      • Anonymous says:

        So, maybe what the PPM should propose is a penalty on such withdrawals – as is the case in the USA – and not an outright prohibition against using the funds.

        This will ensure that the funds are only used in exceptional cases, and after the pensioner has considered all other options.

    • Anonymous says:

      If capital conservation was the priority the PPM would have changed the exposures. The priority has been to ensure that pension administrators make money every year for 40 years and then tell the pensioner they don’t have enough money.


    • Anonymous says:

      I’m no financial expert, and have never worked in the financial sector, but I was once part of a retirement plan that invested according to the individual member’s age.

      In the early years the member’s funds were invested in higher risk Growth Funds like stocks, at say 70% and the other 30% invested in a Secure Fund like bonds.

      As each member neared retirement age the percentages were reversed so that there was little or no risk of the accumulated funds taking a drastic drop within three years or so of retirement.

      In the early years members could set their own percentages, either risking more of less, but as they reached retirement age the were forced to go with the low-risk Secure Fund.

      I don’t see anything wrong with adopting that model here, and I’m sure it could be done within the Regulations without having to make any changes to the Law.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Forget who introduced the motion, PPM/UDP or Ind we must develop a simple long term solution to inject capital spending into the economy.  When people have employment they are more likely to spend on the local economy.  If we give more persons an opportunity to build/own a hope we can begin to see stabilisation of our economy when people have something to work for/towards. 

    In terms of stability, if a person owns a home the effort to keep the current employment or seek to improve their financial position becomes a reality if you give a person opportunity they can then move on to another goal and another. The mind set of individuals is not to do the minimal regardless of the purpose behind the goal.

    Then maybe the pension schemes could get off their a$%*s and invest locally to drive the economy.  Ive never head of a bank operating at a loss im sure they pick similar investments.  Course if I’m wrong please feel free to correct.

    So I say go for it but ensure that the low had no room for abuse.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have a 2 bed 2.5 bath town house for sale 1,350 sq ft- Ocean Front Porperty, tennis court etc – going for $170,000 – anyone interested



  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m a financial advisor here in Cayman – and in my humble opinion the pension-funds should be considered as "too holy to be touched". The truth is that you shouldn’t buy a house if you can’t afford it. There were some comments like "people are in debt and they don’t qualify for a regular mortgage and as the pension money is their money, they should be allowed to use those funds". Well… thetruth is that these people are very bad at managing their finances. They have been so in the past (this is why they don’t qualify) and they will do so in the future. What happens is that somewhere down the line the people will not be able to pay the mortgage rates, the banks will have to sell the property to get their money back – and the previous home-owner will be left with no house and no pension. Many people here in Cayman must be protected from themselves. There is nothing more sad then a retired person thathas not enough money to live a halfway-decent life.

    Life is about choices – and if you want a new SUV and the quarterly  shopping trip to Miami and a jet-ski and and and… well, then you can’t have the house. If you want the house, you have to save a few years before you have enough money available to do so. If you want everything NOW… then better be prepared for a retirement in misery.

    When I hear politicians talking about pension funds I feel immediately sick and scared.

    • Anonymous says:


      So, why are the pensions in the USA, Canada and Bermuda not too holy to be touched?


      • Anonymous says:

        These countries have taxes, social security etc ie other means of relieving the burden which will be surely placed squarely on Government if this goes through.

        What exactly will Government have to cover either the defaulters of these loans or the lack of a decent pension nest egg in the future when they retire??

        The idea sounds great in the short term and I even had to stop for a minute and say man this is a great idea but truthfully in the long run the basic premise is the same individuals that we are trying to help and the same individuals pensions came about to protect will be in the same sorry situation because of their CHOICES and thus will become a major burden on society. Harsh but true.

      • Ex-pat Eric says:

        They are — there are rules that make it stupid to touch, such as a high tax on money pulled out. It’s there for a reason and the post above you did a very good job of explaining it.


  15. Anonymous says:

    How can PPM say they love Caymanians, but are against them having AN OPTION that would allow them to get a piece of land or home?

  16. Sick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    Has anyone done the maths? The maximum salary for which the 10% (5% employer/5% employee) pension deduction is mandatory, is CI$60,000 – therefore maximum total annual contributions CI$6,000. It would take six years for an employee to reach the proposed figure of $35,000.

    Two questions – how many YOUNG Caymanians earn CI$60,000 a year, and how material a sum is $35,000 in relation to the deposit required to purchase even a "starter" home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly, this shows that using their pensions, young caymanians could afford the 10% deposit on a $60,000 piece of land within their first year of working.

      Excellent idea!

      • Anonymous says:

        Please help me understand how you are not able to save the down payment and pension, obviously based on the fund that would have accumulated relative to the maximun 5% pension contribution an additional 10% should not have been difficult.

        Please note you will have to discipline yourself for at least a savings of 10% for maintenance and various contingencies for the home you would own, otherwise the house you thought you owned will be worthless for resale if required. 

         This is a bad idea!! This does not help in the long run.


        • Anonymous says:

          Ask that question to the average caymanian who pays $1,400 per month in rent – that could be going towards a mortgage if they had the deposit to get one!

          Hint: you will need to turn the other cheek

  17. ANON says:

    This is a great idea!!!  It is the first non-punitive idea to come out of govt. in ages. It will stimulate not only the housing market, but all sectors of the economy.  Housing drives an economy!  It will help put people back to work. It will help Caymanians to stop throwing away their money on rent.  It will provide an appreciating asset for purchasers.

    Put politics aside – PLEASE.

  18. Que says:

    Two important points are not mentioned in the article:

    1. Putting down a deposit of 35,000 on a loan reduces your interest payments, which is a good thing.

    2. Freedom to choose between using the money to buy property or investing in a pension fund – both are longterm decisions.

    Great idea that’s worth exploring.


  19. Anonymous says:

    I am happy to see Caymanians get their homes under the GGHAM program, but I don’t need Government to foot the bill for me so the UK can cry about the liabilities of the CIG, what I need is access to MY pension to make an investment for my future.

    I support Ellio and Dwayne! – this is an excellent motion.

    And Alden can cry all he wants (as if he really cares about the Caymanians) – but this isn’t about politics – this is about having a piece of MY country and using MY money to get it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe the UK would be more likely to cry about having to support some fool who lost both his pension and his house because he could no longer afford the house payments.

  20. I am not Ellio says:

    There is a suspiciously large number of increasingly breathless comments in support of Mr. Solomon’s proposal, so I thought I’d do the next half dozen for whoever is posting them to save them the trouble.

    "Thank you Ellio for this really really great idea."

    "You’re so great Ellio!"

    "What a wonderful idea! Why didn’t anyone else think of it?"

    "There’s nothing wrong with this idea It’s the best ever. Nope, no drawbacks that I can see."

    "Thank you! Thank you! Ellio, you’re so marvellous I could just eat you up!"

    "Ellio is just so great! I wonder if he has any sisters!"

    • Anonymous says:

      Good post, except that the parts about "I could just eat you up" and "I wonder if he has any sisters" makes me wonder whether you are male, female or in a conflict. 

      But luckily for you Ellio’s proposal doesn’t discriminate against homosexuals or people with gender conflicts using their pension.  

    • brainy braccer says:

      yep..obviously a plant on the board……

      surprised it hasn’t happened before…. it would be very easy for any poltical party/person to swamp the comments board with their propoganda

  21. Anonymous says:

    What’s wrong with having another option to own your own home?

    Please Caymanians – for once – support ideas that will benefit you. Real Estate prices are going down. Alden has his house. Kurt has his house. get yours – lets support Ellio.

  22. Anonymous says:

    if the Banks will accept a guarantee from the Government (which PPM left broke) – why won’t they accept a guarantee from the pension funds?

    Ellio’s idea is excellent and will benefit Caymanians.

  23. Don't worry I wont stay says:

    It’s not a pension swap!

    The idea is to allow individuals the right to choose how their pension money is invested.   

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Ellio!

    Please people, don’t be divided about this for political reason. This is a chance to provide Caymanians with another option to own a home. Why defeat caymanians having another option to own a home?

    Please don’t destroy your country because you hate UDP or PPM – support Ellio’s plan – its the best hope many will have to own a home.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I believe this is a great idea!

    Other than some ‘long term doom and gloom story’ – what has the PPM cited as the negatives to Mr. Solomon’s plans?

    As I see it: Caymanians get a home; architects, contractors and realtors get jobs; banks lend money (which is how they make money).

    Why fight against something that can benefit Caymanians and the economy PPM?


  26. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a great idea.  Your pension is always at risk anyway with the way the stock market plays.  So getting some funds right now to buy property is a good, almost risk free investment in my books… long as you pay the mortgage.

  27. Anonymous says:

    In other countries people are allowed to withdraw their money from their pensions to purchase a home! -so why should Caymanians be treated any less?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Some of these replies just goes to show the level of bias and/or lack of intelligence exists in the CNS reader base.

    Pensions are currently and have been LOSING money for those of you living in wonder land, further not only are they LOSING money, they are losing money primarily OVERSEAS.  You can’t even say there was a shot are recouperating any of those lost revenues in the local economy. 

    Anybody advocating either NOT TAKING the pension holiday or KEEPING their money into just about any of the pension funds is an absolute MORON and has no clue as to what is going on!  you might as well invest in the stock market.  I took the pension holiday because myself and everyone around me was LOSING MONEY.  Its safer in a bank, and sure as hell safer in real estate.

    to address the idiotic point of a reader below implying that the decline of the real estate market show that the investing in the "current" real estate market is somehow indicative of Ellio’s idea being a bad one, is another example of stupidity beyond any measurable proportions.  People are SUPPOSED to buy after a decline.  You never know when you are at the bottom of the market unless you have some kind of crystal ball.  But one this is for certain, real estate will rise again.  Your money is SAFER in the long term that in some foreign investment group.




    • Anonymous says:

      My pension plan earned more than 11% for the year ended 30th June 2010.  Have you ever taken the time to research all of the multi-employer plans on the island to see what their returns are?  Maybe you are the MORAN for not doing your homework – especially given the fact that you are taking the pension holiday where you are not receiving your employer’s 5% share of contributions. 

  29. Anonymous says:

    Ellio has an excellent idea, and its only expected that the PPM will try to fight against it – as the concern of the PPM is not about the People, but the next election.

    This is not about politics – this is about helping people have further options to get their homes – and Ellio deserves praise.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Pension Administrators make a lot of money losing our pension funds every year (just look at your last pension statement). At the rate they are losing our money, its doubtful there will be any left when we reach 60.

    Its not surprising that Alden Mclaughlin prefers the Pension Administrators to continue losing our pension money with their fees and investing overseas, rather than allowing Caymanians to purchase their own piece of land or home.

    In the USA, Canada and even Bermuda, Pension withdrawals for the purchase of a home are allowed (no mention of this by the PPM of course) – so why can these countries see the benefits but our local crabs within the PPM not see the benefits?

    If a husband and wife are each able to put $15,000 from each of their pensions together and acquire an home (an asset that history has shown will only increase in value) why deny them that?

    GGHAM only applies to Caymanians who make between 30k – 40k per year. What happens if you make more than that, but still can’t save the deposit money you need? And why should Government (the othertax payers) have to guarantee the loan on my house – if i have enough pension to help myself?

    The PPM needs to set politics aside and work with Ellio to help the Caymanian people.


  31. Practically says:

    Ownership of land is not a right.  We seem to have forgotten that.  It is an aspiration.  This plan, which is nonsense, would only hurt Caymanians and Cayman down the line.

    What would be better would be to allow local non-Caymanians to access their pension contributions for use in investments in local businesses.  This would be a sure way of encouraging local capital investment and job creation with money that is usually destined ultimately for other places. 

    But alas I think it is too sophisticated for Ellio "my hair is inspired by Cameo" Solomon.  Actually I think the plot of Iron Man 2 is too much for Ellio "don’t make me angry you won’t like me when I’m angry" Solomon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Practically, I think you are a joke. Yah have foreigners buy up our country so that we are at their mercy in the future. We see you have no concept of National Pride!

      • Jujujitsu says:

        With cutting analysis like that I bet you love Ezzard Miller.  But alas if you can’t understand the concept that the economy is not a zero sum game and that additional local investment will be better for the overall economy then I guess he is your man.

    • Anonymous says:

      So Government should only give its people the option through which to achieve "rights" and not "aspirations". Please, Ellio’s idea is a good one, and if nothing else it provides the people with an option they never had before – if its right for them, then they will choose it.

      They can’t access their pension funds unless a Bank approves their loan, and trust me the bank isn’t going to approve a loan that it isn’t relatively sure will be repaid.


    • Anonymous says:

      How would it "hurt caymanians down the line" to have a home?

      Should only some Caymanians achieve their dream of home ownership?

      Rubbish – Ellio’s idea is great; it provides an option, and the PPM will go down as the one’s who fought against Caymanians having a further option to acquire their land and homes. An option that the US Congress, the Canadian Government, the Bermuda government saw fit to give their people.


      • Anonymous says:

        The danger to which the previous writer referred is a person uses their pension for a house they will have little or no retirement funds for which a pension is designed.

        Without other retirement safety nets such as social security the people that have drawn down their pensions will likely turn to government to fund their retirement. That will place an incredible strain on future social services.

        Also there is a manipulation of the system in dipping into the pension funds which artificiality lowers the cost of living in the short term but this is artificial because the costs are the same the fixed future asset is being depleated.


        • Anonymous says:

          But these concerns can be addresses .The approach of most CNS/PPM posters seems to be to find a problem and not think of a way that it can be addressed.

          For example, silly, the Government could impose a restriction that the house could not be sold, full stop; or alternatively, that if the house is sold, the pension deduction plus interest (the penalty that will discourage sale).

          Please start thinking caymanians – it doesnt hurt.

  32. Anonymous says:

    i think elio needs to back and study to see why pensions are set up for in the first place…..

    did he not learn his lesson from the public rejection of the idiotic pension holiday????

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think the pension holiday idea was idiotic and people wouldn’t have rejected it if they knew they weren’t giving up free money from their employer. Why would I take a break from the 5% my employer is going to contribute to my pension just so I could have my 5% in my pocket. My employer refused to entertain the idea. We didn’t even get to discuss it. I think it was geared more to small business don’t you think? To assist small businesses??

    • Anonymous says:

      The Pension Holiday failed because they UDP made it that "employers" had to agree before employees could get it.

      I know of lower paid employees literally begging their employers to have their pension contributions waived, because the $100 extra per month would help – but the employer said "no".

      Ellio’s plan – quite rightly – doesn’t require the employers approval. if the Bank approves the loan for a land or a house, then you get the Pension fund to give you your deposit.

      And the deposit for the land in my opinion doesnt have to be literally withdrawn, but maybe the bank can take out a lien on the funds.

      typical caymanian crabs- -fighting down anything to help their people.

      Thank you Ellio – this is an excellent idea.

      • anonymous says:


        Is this all Elio can pull out from under his flat top head?

        Shame on you !  How can you manipulate people to believe you are giving them something they already have? Money for a downpayment. Why should they follow you into debt with you leading them astray and be tempted to buy a house they can not afford ?  Throwing away their life long earnings yes their precious retirement fund ,their pension? Elio who have you been talking to?

        After all  your encouragement for the people to make huge withdrawls of $35,000 or more is ridiculous and  a disgrace to the very intelligence of the hearer!?

        This is proof of lack of education on the part of some legislators.

        This is not a comprehensive plan at all. This MLA for George Town is not doing something for the people, it is an effort to futher burden them increase their debt and impoverish them. Why can”t  Mr.Elio Solomon request from the premier at least $3million to $5 million dollars from the $15 million granted by the UK for the small businesses?. I know for a fact the small businesses in the Cayman Islands is not going to see not even 10% of that $15 million dollars. Some of that money should be directed towards building affordable homes for the people. Does this mean that they have other plans for the funds aside from the small businesses and the would be homowners?  It seems that way to me. and we are to be lured intobelieve that by hard working people helping themselves to finding their own $35,000 down payment for the purchase of a home an effort that not even the richest and most famous of Cayman’s elite is required to do !

        Then we in turn must pat the George Town member, Mr. Elio Solomon on the back for pulling a fast one on all of us?

        Take that UDP trick back to Rock Hole!  this is 2010   not  Nineteen fifty Ten!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Simple Solution,

    Government has in place a number of housing programmes which have a proven track record of success.

    Now going from being a "renter" to becoming a "homeowner" has its challenges.  We must keep in mind that this process doesn’t just happen overnight.  The bridge from renting to owning is land.

    So to the "powers to be" here is a very simple solution.  Enhance the existing GGHAM programme by adding a couple lines:

    "Government Guaranteed Residential Property Programme.  Prospective clients can apply for a land loan of say up to $50,000 with the Government guaranteeing a certain amount to the participating financial institutions (or Government could simple empower CIDB to provide such loans). "

    While Government has made concerted efforts to get people into houses there are many who need a little help in getting started – acquiring a parcel of land.  Once there is sufficient equity in the land then the client would simply apply to build under the Build on Your Propery Programme.

    Sign Me,

    Got more ideas for Housing, but I am not connected with the right people!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should Government (the taxpayers) guarantee a loan for someone who has the financial ability to handle this for themselves?

      if the banks will take a guarantee from the government (as broke as PPM has them) – then the banks will take a guarantee from the pension funds.

      Ellio has an excellent idea, and I am proud we have someone like him working for the people – not against them like PPM.

  34. anonymous says:

    How many poorer people HAVE $35,000 in their pension accounts?

    • Anonymous says:

      Silly rabbit! $35,000 is the max – not the minimum.

      If someone wants a piece of land for $50k – then if they are purchasing on their own – they would need only withdraw $5k.

      if a husband and wife are purchasing a home for $400,000 – then they would each need only withdraw $20,000 (put your calculator down, that’s $40,000 total).

      So you will see from the above that neither pension holder needed to have the maximum of $35,000.

      So, stop being a crab – promote caymanians having a further option to own a home. its good for caymanians and its good for the economy.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t… but I’ve put more than that into it! 

  35. Anonymous says:

    What baffles me is we have just witnessed a major financial crisis in the US in no small part due to the "American dream of home ownership." Indeed, banks were forced to lend in certain areas or they would be charged with discrimation. But when it comes to home ownership, there are two realities. One, its is a priviledge, not a right. Second, it can be argued that a home is a liability not an asset.

    What home dreamers aren’t told are the following expeses that come along with home ownership: Mortgage, Life Insurance, Property Insurance, Maintenance, Landscaping, Furniture, Stamp Duty, Loan application fees, Legal fees, and Opportunity Cost. I can assure you, its cheaper to rent. With a good percentage of the population leaving, there are some real rental bargains out there.

    Certainly Cayman has witnessed prices falling since 2007. Excluding SMB, the market was falesly bouyed by Ivan and then the purchasing of Residency points. At least until people realized the purchasing of land was no guarantee of success of residency. In an ironic twist, according to Immigration, one must own a property of equivalent value if one wishes to keep residency. This was to prevent people from buying property solely for the purpose of obtaining points for residency (even though it was the law). So anyone who bought in 2005 through 2009 is technically at risk of losing their residency. I wouldn’t be surprised if to sell a property quickly we have to go back to the early 2000 prices. What a fine mess Cayman has got itself in. And what is in the pipeline to have all this change?

    • Anonymous says:

      "a home is a liability not an asset"!

      Is that what Kurt and Alden who both own homes told you.

      Please get some sense.

      And the financial crisis wasn’t caused by people owning homes silly. But even if it was – lets stop caymanians from owning homes because other countries had a crisis involving their housing market!

      PPM logics – never ceases to amaze.

  36. Anonymous says:

    It is not actually a swap. Ellio’s proprosal would give an opportunity to use our own money to where we want it to and when to use it.  This is a good undertaking.  This is being done in other countries.  You can make a loan out of your pension contributions or withdraw a portion of it.  At the end of the day, it is our money .

    For others who doesn’t need it, then dont use it!!! But for someone who is in dire need of money, who is already indebted, who wnats to own homes but cant make a down payment then you have the option to withdraw from your pension.

    GGHAM is different!  In GGHAM you need to apply to the bank, so what if you are not qualified? Do you have other options?  Unless the good and intelligent politicians would lend their salaries to the needy!





    • Dred says:

      Actually when I first saw this I scoffed at it but after sitting back thinking about the angles this might not be a bad idea as it provides some options. Here’s an example:

      Just suppose you are tied up with your finances that at present you do not qualify for a home loan with any bank but you have been presented an offer to say Rent to Own or Lease Purchase where you have to come up with a down payment. Taking that it would take 1 to 2 years to get clear of your debts where you could pursue a loan this would be an ideal situation.

      Then there is the situation where the loan is for the home but furniture you need to deal with on your own. This is ideal for that or maybe closing cost or stamp duty or any other fee that banks today throw at you.

      Let’s keep in mind not everything comes at you straight any longer so you have to be able to take opportunities that present themselves.

      When I look at this now with a more open mind I say that there is nothing wrong with having OTHER options on the table for people. The only thing I see is abuse. It should be used ONLY for securing by one means or another property be it the downpayment, furniture, stamp duty or closing cost.

      It just can’t be abused.

    • Ex-pat Eric says:

      "for someone who is in dire need of money, who is already indebted"

      they shouldn’t own a home as the the mortgage would just add to that debt load.

      Clean up your finances first, reduce your debt load, and here’s a big one – SAVE the money. That means buy the least expensive things you NEED, not want.

      It can be done, it just hasn’t been for long time.


      • Anonymous says:

        The issue is often the inability to have at any one time the deposit to get into a home – so tapping into forced savings for investment into a home is a good thing.

  37. Richard Wadd says:

     I make no apology for supporting this move. I would much rather have MY Pension Money working for me, than leaving it in the ‘Care’ of what can only be described as a bunch of ‘Licensed’ con-men.

    Based upon the performance (or should I say non-performance) of MOST if not ALL Pension Scheme Investors (ever wonder WHY they call it a ‘Scheme’), I would rather have MY money to invest as I see fit, than risk not having any left when I really do need it.

    If I had taken my Pension and invested it in Real Estate over the years, I would have a Handsome Return on my Investment now, instead of a DECLINING BALANCE !

    It is just amazing that, with the massive growth in our Real Estate Market over these last decades, Fund managers can only offer us Diminishing Returns in the last few years.





    • Dred says:

      I agree completely. Our pension was abused during the height of the recession. I lost over 30% of mine and only now starting to recover back some of it.

      Again what I see here are people disagreeing BECAUSE it’s UDP.

      People we can’t be like that. If you’ve seen me comment in the past you will know I dislike UDP as much if not more than the next person BUT I am the kind of person who respects ideas no matter where they originate.

      We have to stop with party politics. We have to stop disagreeing JUST BECAUSE. That will get us no where. If they are right then they are right and we should be happy for that. In teh same token if they are wrong EVEN their fellow members should vote against it. Because they don’t does not mean we have to vote against ideas JUST BECAUSE. It makes us no better than them.

      This idea is not 100% perfect but fundamentally it’s a sound idea. It gives us the people more control and options. That I can not see as wrong. It has to be protected from abuse YES but everything has that potential.

  38. Say It Aint So! says:

    Mr. Solomon, has it right! Its tuff going for many families. Here is a real opportunity to put our pensions to use while we are still alive. The other thing that has plagued pensioners is that many pension plans have significantly under performed. Most people took big losses on their pensions. They would have been better off sticking that money under their mattress.

    Let the people decided if they want to invest their pension in Cayman realestate that has always performed well during their living years.

  39. Sorry, I must agree with Alden on this one!

    To me, the Pension swap is UNNECESSARY!

    Ellio makes it sound like the only redeeming financial option for someone seeking a house loan. The danger is, everyone will be digging into their pensions, and you will need monies in the pension treasury pool. With all due respect, I have to wonder if Ellio comes up with this idea to score political points.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ellio suggest that people without homes, but with money in a pension fund be allowed to invest some of that money in their own homes.

      Is there a down side to taking money out of your pension sure. But there is an upside to owning your own home, before you retire…or just before you retire.  An Upside to paying a mortgage rather than rent.

      The return on that investment is far greater than any money gain from a pension fund…now a day’s putting money in your pension fund is more like putting money under someone else’s mattress. I say invest in your home save some money on the interest with bank. That alone is worth taking the money out.

      People borrow from their pension all the time. I’m sure with the right guidelines it would work.

      I know Caymanians who leave the country just to get their pension; I don’t think it’s right if they are doing it for any other reason than an investment that benefits them more than the "pension promise".

      There is an upside to investing in your country opposed to having Caymanian money invested in other communities. (Which I believe is the case with the current pension funds.)

      There is an upside to injecting money in the community now the country could use the business. As for other government scheme, how about letting people helping themselves for a change. If you’re going to give a handout…give it to someone with no options.

      On the other hand, perhaps the pension fund should be backed by mortgages, I got to pay it…money would always be coming in….pension companies and banks may not like it…But I would like to get more value for my money…Good Idea Ellio.

      Alden…seems more like the posturing politician….protecting big business