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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Contemplating ‘asset meltdown’ in sunshine

‘Money, finance and demography – the consequences of ageing’ was the title and theme of the 26th annual colloquium of SUERF (Société Universitaire Européenne de Recherches Financières) held in Lisbon in October.

About 50 papers presented to the colloquium explored in parallel the macroeconomic implications of ageing populations (most of us are going to have to work longer than we expected), the implications for financial stability and supervision (the UK is not the only country with pension funds in difficulties and/or in denial), and the implications for financial markets.

The last of these aroused strong debate between those who argue that there is a serious risk of meltdown during the coming decade and those who are more complacent. The former argue that the baby-boom generation is about to retire, at which time they will seek to realise their considerable capital gains. The following generation is, however, numerically smaller with correspondingly smaller savings appetite, whence the potential for sharp falls in markets. The more complacent argue variously that this flux is small relative to the many influences working on market levels and that in any event the savings appetite of millions in Asia will at least postpone the day of reckoning.

Find out more about the colloquium and the excellent activities of SUERF at www.suerf.org.