Despite having attended a multitude of ASFA Conferences (my first being in 1986), I went to the Gold Coast for the 2022 edition with some trepidation. I had so many questions, such as:
- How many people would go?
- How would people interact with each other? Would they keep their distance?
- Would catching up with old friends be the same?
- Had I lost my ability to engage with others after having spent so long locked down in Melbourne?
Well, the good news was that the overwhelming consensus was that it was great to be able to meet in person again and not just look at faces on a screen. There was a large crowd in attendance and people were happy to mix and talk. It was easy to catch up with old friends and appreciate the opportunity to see each other.
The other fun part was the in-person meeting with people that we had only ever met online. Even a person that I had only met once at last year’s virtual ASFA conference.
Moving on from the social aspects, it was good that we were able to get into some serious discussion about retirement incomes.
Previously, superannuation funds were always happy to talk to Optimum Pensions and hear our views on retirement income and longevity risk. However, while interested, it was made clear that retirement incomes were not a priority at that time.
This has all changed with the introduction of the Retirement Income Covenant and the requirement for all superannuation funds to have in place a Retirement Income Strategy by 1 July this year. Consequently, discussions about not just retirement but retirement income have finally a priority for funds. This can only mean good news for their members. Many of the funds we spoke to realise that they need to consider providing better retirement solutions than just an account-based pension. After all, to meet the best interests of members, a fund cannot just assume one size fits all and only offer a single retirement income solution.
Delegates were keen to hear about the Optimum Pensions solution, especially now that it is more than just a concept as the product had now been launched by Generation Life. It is a feasible solution and retirees can now buy an investment-linked lifetime annuity.
Many superannuation funds were interested in the three paths that Optimum Pensions now provides for them to expand their retirement income product offerings. Firstly, the Generation Life Lifetime Income product is available for funds to offer as a retail product to their members.
An alternative that attracted plenty of interest is a white label option of this product that allows the fund to retain the members and control the investments, and presents a low risk and low-cost way of offering longevity risk protection to its members. This option can also utilise various building blocks to design a solution best suited to the fund’s members.
Finally, Optimum Pensions can work with a fund to leverage our product framework to create its own version of an investment-linked annuity that is tailored to its specific member cohorts. This approach can accelerate the product development process significantly.
Overall, it was pleasing to see the rising interest from funds keen to find better retirement income solutions.