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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Ageing Population Conference 2005 – Sixty-five and not out!

The actuarial profession and the Oxford Institute of Ageing are coming together to hold the second Ageing Population Conference at St Anne’s College, Oxford, on Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 September. The Social Policy Board hosted the first conference in Edinburgh three years ago.

The 2005 conference will address the opportunities and limitations facing the ageing population. Many commentators point to the opportunities for longer life, medical advances, wider labour participation, and the development of new products for new markets. At the same time some researchers argue that human biology, economy, and society have built-in limitations, such as genetic limits to how far we can extend longevity; social limits to society’s tolerance towards the growing numbers of elderly; and economic limits to the capacity of the labour market to retain and reskill the elderly as the age of retirement is extended upwards.

These issues are critical for the pensions and life industries and for the development of new labour market policies. Will the retired generation continue to face the inevitable limitations of old age; or will new opportunities help overcome these limitations? The first report of the Pensions Commission spoke realistically of the limited capacity of state and private provision to support future generations in retirement. In the run-up to the second report in October 2005, these issues will be central to members of the policy-making, academic, and financial services communities, and will no doubt be hotly debated at the conference.

To open the event, the conference will start on 7 September with a keynote dinner speech from Frank Field MP. Other keynote speakers who have accepted invitations to speak are Andrew Dilnot (principal, St Hugh’s College, Oxford), Jay Olshansky (visiting professor at the Oxford Institute of Ageing and professor of public health, University of Illinois), and John Tiner (chief executive, Financial Services Authority). This is a lively mix of speakers, some of whom are known for their upbeat and some for their downbeat prognoses of the opportunities and limitations facing the ageing population. So those attending can be assured of an intellectually provoking event with important challenges to the members of the profession and colleagues from elsewhere. The programme will end with a panel discussion chaired by Michael Pomery and including Charles Cowling, Tom Ross, Richard Disney (professor of labour economics, University of Nottingham), and Sarah Harper (director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing).

A call for papers has gone out from the profession and from several academic bodies inviting presenters to give papers addressing three broad themes: longevity, genetics, and medicine; economics and finance; employment, society, and the law. The conference is also open to offers of papers that do not fall under these headings. Papers can provide analyses of issues or focus on the policy and practical implications arising from these issues. They can focus on one country or compare different countries. The conference invites proposals from people outside as well as inside the actuarial profession.

St Anne’s College will provide a congenial atmosphere where participants can explore the practical and intellectual questions raised by the ageing population, and enjoy space for professional development and personal reflection. We very much hope that you will join us at the conference.

Further details, including call for papers, can be sought from Joanne Barnett, Conference Department, Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn, Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ, email joannelb@actuaries.org.uk, tel 020-7632 2143.