New retirement planning course to address Australia’s ageing future

Wednesday, 2 July 2014  Features

​The Australian School of Business at UNSW is meeting the challenge of funding the retirement of Australia’s ageing population by creating new degree courses in retirement planning.

Research by the UNSW-based ARC Centre for Population Ageing Research and the School of Risk and Actuarial studies in the Business School has highlighted the need for a new postgraduate course focusing on retirement planning and targeted at financial planning professionals. This course complements a growing suite of superannuation courses offered at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level by the Australian School of Business.

Professor Hazel Bateman, Head of the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies, said: “Industry executives involved in retirement planning will need sophisticated skills and knowledge to ensure adequate planning for Australia’s ageing population. This is a significant and growing issue for our nation.”

She said uncertainty about the extent of improvements in life expectancy and frequent policy changes, including increasing the retirement age and changing the eligibility criteria for pensions and benefits (foreshadowed by the Federal Government), made postgraduate level courses increasingly important.

The course is strongly supported by Australia’s biggest annuities provider Challenger Limited, which will enrol its staff and is funding the development of an online version of the course through the company Smart Sparrow. Smart Sparrow’s involvement will enable working professionals to enhance their knowledge of retirement planning without having to attend the course at the UNSW Australia campus, or enrol for a university degree.

Associate Dean (Postgraduate) Professor Chris Adam said: “This course will be of tremendous benefit to financial planners across Australia. We thank Challenger for its very generous and continuing support for the course and for recognising the need for highly educated retirement planners. Retirement planning is a massive industry and one which will increase in importance over coming years. Australia needs people with a very sophisticated knowledge of retirement planning models to operate in that environment”.

John Carnevale, General Manager, Advice Services, Challenger Limited said: “At the core of this innovative course lies the idea that retirement is different from investing at any other stage of life. Tax and social security implications are crucial to planning outcomes and investor priorities shift from wealth accumulation to reliable income generation for an unknown number of years. We congratulate UNSW on this initiative and look forward to an ongoing involvement in the program”

Background to the Retirement Planning course

The course delivers the knowledge necessary to provide effective financial advice for retirement planning in the face of increasingly complex financial products and government policies. A novel feature of the course is the integration of the key retirement risks in retirement planning as well as consideration of behavioural biases which may influence retiree and advisor perceptions and decisions.

The course covers: the economic, financial and other risks facing near to and actual retirees including longevity risk, investment risk, inflation risk, adequacy risk, contingency risk and political risk; the design and risk management features of the Age Pension, superannuation benefits, retirement income products and other forms of retirement incomes; residential options, funding health and aged care, and estate planning.

The course is currently part of the Master of Financial Planning degree and will also be offered in several other Masters programs at UNSW including those in Tax (Financial Planning), Commerce, Actuarial Studies, and Risk Management.

Media contact

Janine MacDonald (Director, Public Affairs) +61 478 492 110