MP2, PESO Fund, FLEXI-Fund, and WISP Plus Compared

MP2, PESO Fund, FLEXI-Fund, and WISP Plus Compared

Savings and investment funds in one are common these days, and you might have heard about Pag-IBIG MP2, PESO Fund, FLEXI-Fund, and the recently launched WISP Plus.

These are but extra layers of social insurance, savings, and security programs offered by the Social Security System (SSS) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), commonly known as the Pag-IBIG, apart from the benefits that members will receive from the regular programs all until retirement.

In this article, we’ll try to compare these savings and investment funds in terms of the general fund information, membership eligibility, benefits, minimum contributions, program enrollment, fund investments, interest rates and earnings, and withdrawal terms.

Fund Descriptions

MP2: The Modified Pag-IBIG II (Pag-IBIG MP2) Savings Program is a voluntary savings and investment program with a 5-year maturity available for Pag-IBIG Fund members who wish to save more and earn higher dividends, in addition to the Pag-IBIG Regular Savings.

PESO Fund: The SSS Personal Equity and Savings Option (PESO) is an interest-guaranteed voluntary provident fund offered on top of the regular SSS program that provides an option to contribute more, save more, and receive more benefits in the future.

 FLEXI-Fund: Flexi-Fund Program is a safe, secure, guaranteed interest earning, and tax-free provident-fund scheme offered by the Social Security System (SSS) and designed to supplement OFWs pension benefits under the regular SSS program.

WISP Plus: Workers’ Investment and Savings Program (WISP) Plus or simply WISP Plus is a New Voluntary Provident Fund (NVPF) program that gives Social Security System (SSS) members an option to participate in an affordable, flexible, convenient, tax-free savings and investment scheme.

Membership Eligibility

MP2: The MP2 Savings is open to (a) active Pag-IBIG Fund Members with at least one (1) monthly savings or contributions within the last six months, (b) former Pag-IBIG Fund members (pensioners and retirees) with other income sources regardless of age and with at least 24 monthly savings prior to retirement, and (c) natural born Filipinos who reacquired their Filipino citizenship with at least 24 monthly savings prior to permanent migration to another country.

PESO Fund: It is open to all employees, self-employed (SE), voluntary (VM), and OFW members who are below 55 years of age, have paid contributions in the regular SSS program for at least 6 consecutive months within the 12-month period immediately prior to the month of enrollment, and have not filed any final claims. SE, VM, and OFW members should be paying the maximum amount of contributions under the regular program.

FLEXI-Fund: Membership in the Flexi-fund Program is open to all OFW-members who are: (a) recruited in the Philippines by a foreign-based employer for work abroad, (b) with source of income in a foreign country, or (c) residing permanently abroad and who are paying or shall pay the maximum contribution under the regular SSS program.

WISP Plus: WISP Plus Program is open to all SSS registrants and members with no final benefit claim, i.e., retirement or total disability benefits, regardless of membership type, declared monthly earnings, and last posted monthly salary credit (MSC).

General Benefits

MP2: It is a dividend-earning savings and investment program ideal for retirement. Contributions may also be withdrawn prior to maturity under circumstances such as total disability, critical illness, unemployment due to layoff, and others determined.

PESO Fund: The fund contributions and earnings shall be allocated in three (3) types of accounts: retirement and disability (65% with guaranteed earnings based on 5-year T-Bond rates), medical (25% with guaranteed earnings based on 364 T-Bill rates), and general purpose, i.e., education, housing, livelihood, and unemployment (10% with guaranteed earnings based on 364 T-Bill rates).

FLEXI-Fund: It is for the member’s retirement, disability, and death. Early withdrawal anytime for urgent cash needs (with pre-termination fees if less than 1-year retention) is allowed, and qualified members are granted Annual Incentive Benefits (AIB).

WISP Plus: It is a savings and investment program ideal for retirement purposes, and even for others such as critical illness, involuntary separation from employment, repatriation of OFW member from the host country, and other analogous conditions as may be determined by SSS.

Minimum Contributions

MP2: The minimum MP2 savings is PHP500 per remittance. A lump sum amount for the whole 5-year period may also be remitted at once.

PESO Fund: Each member shall be allowed a maximum contribution of PHP500,000 (PHP100,000 before) per annum and a minimum of PHP1,000 per contribution.

FLEXI-Fund: An OFW-member may pay his Flexi-Fund contributions anytime, provided that, at the time of payment, he pays or has paid the maximum regular SSS contribution. Any amount paid (not lower than P200) in excess of the required maximum contribution for the applicable period shall be automatically credited to the member’s individual Flexi-Fund account to earn interest.

WISP Plus: The minimum contribution PHP500 per payment, paid anytime. The maximum payment however is subject to the guidelines for each SSS payment channel, manner of payment (e.g., manager’s check), daily limits, and others, in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.

Program Enrollment

MP2: Pag-IBIG members may open an MP2 Savings account online via Virtual Pag-IBIG or at any Pag-IBIG Fund branch by accomplishing and submitting the MP2 Savings Enrollment Form.

PESO Fund: SSS members can enroll in the program over-the-counter at any SSS branch, or online via My.SSS at www.sss.gov.ph.

FLEXI Fund: Registration can be made at any SSS local and foreign branch, or through email (with application form downloadable from SSS official website).

WISP Plus: If interested and still qualified, members may avail WISP Plus through their My.SSS online account. Application is made only once, and program membership is lifetime, no expiration.

Fund Investments

MP2:  At least 70% of the investible funds are invested in housing finance, as required by its charter. Other funds are also utilized for short-term loan (STL) programs, government securities, time deposits, and corporate bonds.

PESO Fund:  Fund contributions are placed only in sovereign guaranteed investments or government securities.

FLEXI-Fund: Funds are invested in fixed-income government securities (treasury bills) which are more transparent and risk-free.

WISP Plus: The fund is invested across various instruments such as government securities (at least 15%), corporate and multilateral institutions and equities (up to 20%), short and medium-term loans to WISP Plus members (up to 25%), money market and BSP-approved investment instruments (up to 40%), and loans to pensioners (up to 70%).

Interests and Earnings

MP2: Pag-IBIG Fund sets aside at least seventy percent (70%) of its annual net income and credits it proportionately to its members’ Pag-IBIG Savings as dividends. This means that the more one has saved, the higher dividends that member shall earn. Since its launch in 2010, its annual dividend rate has been ranging between 4.63% to 8.11%.

PESO Fund: – The assumed fund growth rates are at 3.75%, 1.85% and 1.85% per annum for Retirement Account, Medical Account and General Purpose Account, respectively.

FLEXI Fund: Interest rates shall be based on the average rates of SSS’ short-term peso placements or 91-day Treasury bills (T-bills), whichever is higher. This is subject to quarterly re-pricing (i.e., rate for current calendar quarter is based on rates in previous calendar quarter). According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the interest rate of 91-day T-Bills in the Philippines was 2.095% in July 2022.

WISP Plus: While there is no fixed interest rate, we can somehow compare it against the pre-existing mandatory provident fund, WISP, which made a return of 6.39 percent in its first year of implementation.

Withdrawal Terms

MP2: Withdrawal of MP2 savings before its 5-year maturity is possible given the extreme hardships conditions such as total disability, critical illness, job layoff, or others such as retirement and permanent migration to other countries. However, a member who opts for compounding of MP2 Dividends and later decides to pre-terminate his MP2 Savings for reasons other than the identified circumstances, shall only be entitled to 50% of the total dividends earned. On the other hand, a member who opts for annual MP2 Dividend payout and later pre-terminates it shall only receive his savings.

PESO Fund: While the fund is allocated into three accounts, no withdrawals are allowed from the retirement and total disability account. Withdrawals from the fund shall be allowed only from the medical (25%) and general purpose (10%) accounts. Withdrawals within the 5-yeat retention period shall be charged with corresponding penalty and management fees.

FLEXI-Fund: A member is entitled to receive his benefits upon retirement or in the event of total disability – either in lump sum, pension, or combination. A member may opt for early withdrawal of his Flexi-fund contributions in lump sum, including net interest earnings, anytime. Annual Incentive Benefits (AIB) may be granted to members who have no benefit or withdrawal claims filed within the year. The individual AIB shall be automatically credited to the member’s Flexi-fund account and shall form part of his accumulated funds.

WISP Plus: A WISP Plus member may withdraw the total accumulated account value (contributions + investment income) anytime provided his program membership for at least one (1) year. Upon withdrawal, the member shall receive adjusted earnings or investment income based on membership-length proportions (e.g., 60% of earnings for 1 to less than two years of membership and 100% for 5 years and more).

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