ASIC and Australia's ageing population - speech
A speech by Greg Medcraft, Chairman, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Perth Stakeholder Event (Perth, Australia), 29 August 2017
Good evening everyone and welcome.
Like Natalie, I would like to extend a warm welcome tonight to our industry stakeholders and also the very big turnout of parliamentarians at both the state and federal level who are joining us tonight - many of them for the first time.
A special welcome to Steve Irons, who is of course the Federal Member for Swan, but also chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services – or PJC – which is the committee to which ASIC is accountable and the committee before which we testify four times a year.
Tonight I wanted to do something a little different – and I wanted to talk about something that is that is critically important – and that is the issues that face us as we get older.
It is a demographic reality for Australia that we have an increasing number of retirees and an ageing of our population. The 2015 Intergenerational Report showed that by 2055, the number of Australians aged 65 and over is projected to more than double; one in every 1,000 people will be 100 years or older.
At ASIC, we recognise that this raises issues of fundamental and strategic importance to the financial services sector, the community and the economy.
In financial services, there are big issues for older Australians. Let me focus on four of them.
- retirement planning is complex, requiring people to consider the long term and think conceptually about uncertain and difficult concepts, including their own health and mortality
- as people age, they may be faced with their own cognitive decline and lack the ability to make sound decisions for themselves, or even recognising their own cognitive decline can be an issue.
- older Australians may also be more vulnerable to some types of scams or elder abuse
- some older Australians may lack familiarity with the technology used to deliver financial products and services.
ASIC together with other regulators at the state and Commonwealth level have a keen interest in the retirement space and with the provision of financial services to seniors in an appropriate and effective way.
Tonight I would like to talk about what ASIC is doing to help in this area, focusing particularly on:
- Building financial capability of seniors,
- Financial advice, for seniors – our surveillance and guidance work,
- Retirement income products for seniors – our collaborative work on the development of new products, and once launched how they are marketed.
- Real estate ownership and investment – our surveillance of reverse mortgages and continued focus on responsible lending.
- International cooperation – the ageing of the population and its consequences is financial services is a phenomenon in many countries around the world. It is critical to share ideas and approaches.