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Forthcoming conference on aging to focus on opportunities, not threats

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Four Immortals Saluting Longevity
Four Immortals Saluting Longevity

After hearing pension specialists all over the world moaning about the adverse effects of increased longevity, and seeing insurers and reinsurers alike offloading longevity risk onto (unsuspecting?) financial markets as if their lives (or at least their bonuses) depended on it, GBV found it both intriguing and refreshing that a respected and composed organization such as The Economist had the intestinal fortitude to organize a two-day conference in November 2016 titled “Reaping the longevity dividend.”

Surely increased longevity is, at best, a risk; at worst, a certain cost; but it is definitely not an opportunity.

Or is it?

Much like a drought insurer might think of investing in the production of soft drinks in order to benefit from a “natural hedge,” perhaps pension liabilities could be invested in the so-called “silver economy” on the principle that more pensioners would drive the accelerated growth of products and services targeted specifically at … themselves.

Before this could work, many issues need to be studied, including the time lag between the recognition of liabilities (which currently occur well before pensionable age) and the growth in a post-retirement silver economy; the magnitude of the effects on both sides of the balance sheet (can they balance each other out on a dollar-per-dollar basis?), etc.

Nevertheless, considering the longevity problem from a holistic perspective can only help in managing an issue facing governments and corporations w0rldwide.

The inaugural “Ageing Societies Summit” will take place on November 29th and 30th 2016 in London. Issues to be discussed include how the workplace is changing to accommodate up to five generations of employees, as well as ways in which businesses can adjust their strategies in order to tap into the silver senior market. The keynote address is titled “Rethinking Retirement,” and will focus on the shifting paradigm that will redefine the concepts of work and retirement. The panels will also attempt to define where the most promising investment opportunities are, as they arise as a result of increasing human longevity, and which sectors stand to benefit and which will be challenged.

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