The Effectiveness of An Employee's Choice Programme in Creating an Equity Culture and Establishing Private Pensions in Thailand: A Case Study

  • Panukorn Chantaraprapab

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


This DBA thesis is an empirical study of the new private pension programme in Thailand, an Employee's Choice (EC) programme, which is structured as a self-directed defined contribution plan that permits workers to make their own investment decisions for their pension assets. The growing acceptance of the new pension programme is placing greater responsibility for managing pension assets on workers. The shift from committee-directed pension plans to self-directed pension plans has meant that Thai workers now must make investment decisions, such as what type of plan to choose and how to allocate their pension assets among different asset classes. This raises some concerns about the financial literacy of workers and their ability to make informed decisions. This study aims to analyse the effectiveness of this programme by examining empirical evidence from a case study. Specifically, it asks whether workers are able to make appropriate investment decisions for their pension plans as investment theory has suggested. This study has shown that the new pension programme in this case study is effective. Most importantly, the study finds that, regardless of their level of financial literacy, workers are able to make reasonable investment choices as suggested by portfolio and lifecycle investing theories. Specifically, when workers were offered investment options ranging from low risk to high risk, workers are able to choose investment choices consistent with their age and risk tolerance. However, this study finds that financial literacy does matter if workers are asked to make asset allocation decisions instead of choosing between options. The study finds that workers with low levels of financial literacy are likely to allocate less of their pension assets in equities. The findings from this study make several contributions to the growing literature on household finance. In addition, this study has a number of important management implications for pension design. With the simple plan design which offers choices ranging from low risk to high risk, workers appear to make rational investment decisions regardless of their level of financial knowledge. Therefore, the simple plan design could be very useful for workers who have less financial knowledge. This research has also shown that many workers do not plan to review or revise their portfolios as lifecycle theory has suggested. The implication from this study is that the new self-directed pension programme is not effective in the long-run. There is, therefore, a definite need for a better pension design. Innovative pension design should be used in order to minimize workers' investment mistakes. This study advocates the use of lifecycle funds and recommends policymakers to promote and support the usage of lifecycle funds in the Thai private pension context.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIsmail Erturk (Supervisor) & Karel Williams (Supervisor)


  • private pension
  • defined contribution
  • financial literacy

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