The SMSF Association is establishing a Global Centre of Excellence for Retirement Savings, the Association’s CEO, John Maroney, told the Technical Day conference in Sydney today.
“This Centre, which we expect to open before the end of the year, will be a policy think tank that will provide thought leadership about key areas in the retirement savings market, with a broad focus on financial and non-financial issues.
“The range of topics will include the design of retirement incomes policies, behavioural economics and investment markets, aged care and mental capacity, indeed, all social, economic and community issues that have an influence on people having a dignified and secure retirement.”
“The Centre, which will be based in Adelaide, will also act as a clearing house for existing literature and research into retirement issues, as well as commission and conduct relevant research into these areas via teams of experienced researchers, PhD students, industry participants and other interested parties.
“The researchers will have access to data provided by network participants and other sources, with all research structured to provide genuine practical value to the industry.”
Maroney says the benefits of the research will be increased awareness of key issues related to retirement design and operation in other countries, and the improved efficiency and effectiveness of the public policy and design features of the Australian superannuation system, with a particular focus on the SMSF sector.
“Another key priority will be to advance the technological architecture of the SMSF sector by providing an industry hub to develop data standards for SMSFs and new applications of IT to SMSF administration. This will pull together SMSF businesses, researchers, regulators and other industry participants to advance SMSF IT.”
As an integral part of developing the Centre, the SMSF Association has begun discussions with several universities, including the University of Adelaide, Monash University, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, University of New South Wales and Macquarie University to get their input via an academic advisory group.
Maroney says Dr Phillip Dolan, currently adjunct professor at Monash University and former dean of the UWA business School and former head of the Macquarie University applied finance centre and actuarial program, has agreed to help establish the academic advisory group.
“Phillip has an enviable reputation is this field and we are honoured he has decided to accept this role. Aside from his varied academic positions, he was Head of Investment Research at Macquarie Bank for 13 years (1990-2003) where he oversaw a team doing applied research and development across most major investment sectors.
“At various times, he was also Head of Product Management and oversaw Macquarie Investment Management’s relationships with the major asset consulting firms.”
Aside from universities, the SMSF Association also aims to involve financial institutions, other associations, and service providers to the SMSF sector in the Centre’s research work.