Saturday, December 27, 2008

Redefining Old

Nomura has an excellent piece of research out that goes well beyond what that genre usually entails in the brokerage space. The Business of Ageing is an extensive discussion of the key risk of the pensions industry that is longevity, its implications for the real economy, financial markets and the major industries. I particularly value the section about longevity with its discussion of the technophysio approach which, in combination with longevity convergence across countries, is posited as leading to rapid longevity growth. Where official UN projections arrive at an average life expectancy of ca 85 years in 2050, Nomura models predict ca 90 years. 

Redefining Old refers to another interesting aspect of the paper: Whereas a social security definition in terms of years lived will lead to an increasing share of the "old" cohort burdening social security, the authors argue that with increasing healthy life expectancy due to morbidity compression, it will be reasonable (i.e. necessary) to expect people to work (much) longer. The authors pinpoint that age at about 80, which would be suicidal for any politician to ask for. Note that this blog has argued for the same number before.

Virtually unseen in brokerage research is the extensive, up-to-date scientific apparatus provided. The label useful is fully deserved.

As a side comment: In spite of Switzerland's claim of having an exemplary retirement system that is the envy of the world, her only (and favourable) appearance in the paper is in a table about obesity ...

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