December 2014

Centre Director's Message

CEPAR has had another dynamic year of briefings, events, publications, and submissions. 

2014 included a mid-term review by our major funder, the Australian Research Council. I am delighted to say the Review Panel  responded very positively to our progress in establishing and growing CEPAR, and commended our strong multi-disciplinary research program, growing profile in the ageing policy sector, increase in international relationships and the quality of our postdoctoral researchers and students.
A major focus for CEPAR this year has been research into retirement incomes. Publications, working papers and grants have focused on this important issue. December has seen publication of the Financial System Inquiry Final Report and speculation about the Government’s forthcoming Taxation White Paper. The FSI Report’s Recommendations are generating much discussion, including about the state of the superannuation industry and retirement planning.  We will continue our involvement in the Inquiry process and are planning a formal response on those Recommendations which address retirement incomes.  

Over the next year we plan to produce a research brief series on retirement incomes, as well as pursuing further research on this topic. Much remains unresolved.
I would like to thank all who support, contribute to, and are committed to our work, and wish you a happy and safe festive season.

Best regards,


FSI Report: A framework for forward thinking

The  Financial System Inquiry (FSI) Final Report has a strong focus on superannuation, recognising the extent of Australia’s ageing population and subsequent importance of the welfare of individuals at later ages of life, and the significance this has for the national economy.

The Report's Recommendations (9 – 13, plus 37 ) regarding super take retirement income planning in the right direction by providing a framework for forward thinking about individuals’ capacity to make decisions which can lead to improved income streams. However, greater detail is required, and any response to the Recommendations should be wide enough to include consultations with superannuation fund members  themselves.

CEPAR made three separate submissions during the Inquiry, focusing on:

  • changing  superannuation policy focus from ‘accumulation’ to ‘income in retirement’, and developing a menu of retirement income products available to retirees to make informed choices more.
  • research relating to behavioural economics/finance in the context of superannuation more.
  • recommendations informed by two separate stages of retirement more.

CEPAR PwC Workshop

The latest annual workshop developed by CEPAR with our industry partner PwC, explored features of long term care and longevity insurance with an emphasis on actuarial, economic and financial mathematics aspects.

CEPAR Associate Investigator (AI) Ermanno Pitacco (University of Trieste) was joined by CEPAR visitor Servaas van Bilsen (Tilburg University/NETSPAR), Jonathon Ziveyi (UNSW) and CEPAR Research Fellow Adam Shao in presentations on the modelling of risks in insurance contracts and practical aspects for insurance policy design, risk modelling and management.

Workshops are an opportunity for invited guests, including PwC clients and staff, researchers and PhD students, to engage with the latest research, hear international perspectives, network and discuss issues.

Students' creative solutions to ageing issues

The Go8-C9 annual forum, held at UNSW this year, is a great opportunity for exemplary PhD students to strengthen links between the Group of Eight Australian universities and the C9 coalition of Chinese universities.

The theme of the 2014 forum Global challenges of ageing populations: graduate perspectives from China and Australia allowed students from a range of disciplines to share their ideas on how to address the social, economic and health-related challenges likely to arise with ageing populations. 

Population ageing is a common issue for both countries. The proportion of Australians aged over 65 is expected to double by 2040 while China’s population of over-60s could reach 360 million by 2030.

From idea to application? The students attended a practical workshop run by CEPAR Research Fellow Dr Bei Lu.

Developing focused areas of research, however narrow, to make am impact on public policy was her key message to the students, who represented a range of academic disciplines including health, medical and social sciences, information technology and industrial design.

Small groups were formed and challenged to identify and address an issue in long term care, drawing on their disciplines to develop a research proposition and methodology and identify achievable outcomes with practical applications.

Students responded with an innovative and eclectic range of presentations on intergenerational care, vision loss, reduced mobility, applications for emerging technologies, and aged care facilities.

CEPAR Workshop on the Economics of Health and Ageing
Coogee Crowne Plaza
30 January 2015.

For more information please contact Isabella Dobrescu (

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Featured research

At the Biennial Conference of the Australian Population Association, Dr Meimanat Hosseini Chavoshi's presentation considered the increased need for assistance to perform daily core activities in old age. Her research shows women have a greater need (19%) for assistance than men (16%) after the age of 75, and that Indigenous Australians require earlier assistance, likely due to lower health status in indigenous communities.

CEPAR PhD student Kimberley Ashby-Mitchell (Australian National University) presented her examination of the effect of diet on cognitive outcomes in the Australian diabetes and lifestyle study, at the Go8-C9 PhD Forum. 

Kimberley’s work has also seen her selected for the prestigious Deeble Institute Summer Scholar program, which will provide her with an opportunity to develop a policy brief focused on the estimation of direct and indirect costs of cognitive impairment in Australia.


Visitor Profile: 

Ermanno Pitacco

CEPAR Associate Investigator Ermanno Pitacco, Professor of Actuarial Mathematics at the University of Trieste, visited CEPAR's UNSW node.

“Most of the organisations I visit throughout Europe are professional bodies, lacking a scientific focus. So I was very excited  to discover CEPAR, a great entity which attracts quality visitors, colleagues and young researchers,” he said.

Ermanno’s research is in life annuities, life pension, guarantees and options. During his third CEPAR visit, he presented at the PwC Workshop on long-term insurance products, models, sensitivity analysis, and premiums, and attended a joint UNSW-CSIRO Risk workshop.

The visit also provided an opportunity for Ermanno and Chief Investigator Mike Sherris to continue work on the book they are co-editing with AI Annamaria Olivieri on life annuities and pensions.

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