Asian countries are exposing their citizens to a concentration of risk comparable to that which occurred in the Enron scandal, delegates at Mercer's Asia Pacific Investment Forum have been told this week
He compared this situation to the experiences of corporate pension funds.
He said: "If we are working with corporate pension clients, it is generally considered undesirable for that company to invest its pension fund in its own stock.
"Clearly, if the company performs badly, that is going to affect the ability of that company to meet its contributions, it is going to affect the workers in terms of their employment, and it is going to affect the performance of the fund in terms of stock price and, hence, the value of the fund.
"So there is a concentration of risk in the fund, totally related to that company. Enron is a classic case in point."
Hawker argued benefit security could be improved when social security assets were invested offshore, whatever the performance of the domestic economy.
He explained that if the domestic economy was outperforming overseas, tax revenues were likely to be up and citizens would have higher incomes and be able to save more outside their scheme.
If, on the other hand, the domestic economy was underperforming, higher returns on fund assets would help increase benefit security, offsetting some of impact of reduced tax revenues or incomes.
Hawker told Global Pensions it would take time for change to occur: "A lot of the systems are still relatively new and a lot of the investment frameworks have been relatively safe. It is going to take a while for it to broaden out."
He added some countries were also worried about the impact of such a change: "With a few of the countries, Malaysia for example, there has been concern about capital flowing out and the implications in respect of their currency."
Carl Redondo, lead consultant for regional benefits consulting in Asia at Hewitt's Hong Kong office, said while there was an argument to provide people with more access to funds that were outside of the local market, change shouldn't happen too quickly.
"Things are clearly developing in that direction, but it comes back to: Are people able to make intelligent choices at the moment? The answer is probably no.
"So if we let a lot of these people, where this concept is new, run off and put their money in Taiwan equities, then it just comes back to bite us in five years' time when they have got no money left.
"If you look at it, most people just want to go into a default fund - they want a safe, steady fund that is giving them 5%."
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