The ASFA Conference has come and gone for another year. It is always great to catchup with old friends and make some new connections. One of the features of the conference is the opportunity to hear from global experts.
Prof. Susan Thorp, Professor of Finance at the University of Sydney Business School, told the Leadership Symposium on the day before the conference that there is plenty of work do to on the decumulation phase before we can start congratulating ourselves on the success of our retirement income system.
“We had a savings problem, so we focussed on balances. Now we need to focus on retirement income.” Prof. Susan Thorpe
The Leadership Symposium also heard from Prof. Moshe Milevsky, Professor of Finance at Schulich School of Business, York University. He presented a good explanation how mortality credits can be used as the basis for efficient retirement income products.
One of the most anticipated sessions was the unveiling of the MySuper heatmap by APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell. She told the Conference that one of APRA’s core strategic priorities is improving member outcomes in superannuation. We know that there is a flurry of activity in most funds to anticipate how they will fare in the heatmaps to be published in early December.
Optimum Pensions views retirement income as a significant component of member outcome measures. This does not appear to be a generally accepted view. In fact, during the session on Day 2 on Member Outcomes, we heard that as long as “funds get the journey right then that’ll lead to a good outcome for the member when they retire in 10, 20, 50 years’ time.” Yes, it is all about accumulation. But that is only the first part of the journey.
The Conference concluded with several presentations designed to inspire us to be creative, emotional agile and extraordinary. One of these was from Prof Jill Klein, Professor of Marketing, Melbourne Business School and Professorial Fellow in Medical Education, Melbourne Medical School. She commented that 24 years ago it was not uncommon to see doctors and nurses smoking in hospitals. From the vantage point of 2019, we are amazed that this took place. She asked us to imagine that it is the year 2040 and to complete this sentence: “Can you believe that back in 2019 in the superannuation industry we used to…”
Here at Optimum Pensions, we say:
“Can you believe that back in 2019 in the superannuation industry we did not have products and services to help members manage longevity risk?”
The concluding message for the 2019 ASFA Conference was from Todd Sampson, Adventurer, award-winning documentary-maker, television presenter and businessman, who reminded us that we can achieve so much more than we think and that our greatest limits are self-imposed.