Academics to scrutinise saving for old age

Professor Ania Zalewska

Professor Ania Zalewska

Pension experts from across the world will discuss pension reforms and global lessons to be learnt for Saving for Old Age, in a conference organised by Professor Ania Zalewska from the School of Management's Centre for Governance and Regulation, together with the Institute for Policy Research (Monday 22-Tuesday 23 June).

Contrary to the general practice of focusing on either asset management issues or individual household finance, the conference will look at the pensions industry and pension reform from both angles, reflecting the crossover between the two.

Prestigious academics and policy makers will provide the keynote speeches, a selection of which will be available online after the event, and researchers will present their studies into all aspects of asset management for old age.

Who will give the academic keynotes?

Michael Haliassos, Professor of Macroeconomics and Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt, will give an overview of issues in household finance.

Russ Wermers, Professor of Finance, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, will describe the landscape and issues in the pension industry in the States.

Who will give the policymaking keynotes?

Carmen Pagés-Serra, Chief of the Labour Markets and Social Security Unit, Inter-American Development Bank (IAD), USA, will give an assessment of pension reforms in Latin America.

Steve Webb, former Minister of State for Pensions 2010-2015, will explain how pension policy is really made.

The full conference programme is available online. If you would like to attend the conference please email Sophie Wise.

Understanding the issues

Explaining the focus on institutional and individual investors, Professor Zalewska said: “Since the privatisation of the pension industry, when the Government is pushing for individuals to be responsible for starting saving and actively following their investment over a long period of time, it’s important to understand how the system works or what the issues are when it doesn’t work.”

“Saving for old age is a different perspective with long term commitments on both sides, and additional obstacles and hurdles to monitor it for both individuals and institutional investors. Can individuals practically monitor their money on a regular basis for, say, thirty years, and even if they can, what can they do, given that they don’t have free flow to change providers without cost.

“On the institutional level there are policy and market considerations and also issues of monitoring their own performance. Managers are appointed on a short term basis, so the question is how to structure incentives and make them responsible for the performance of a long term fund.”

A special issue of the Journal of Banking & Finance on the conference theme will be published under the Editorship of Professors Steven Ongena and Ania Zalewska.

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