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Policy Dialogue on Decision Making for and in Old Age


Policy Dialogue on Decision Making for and in Old Age

10 October 2022, 9.30am-5.00pm (AEDT)

Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra/Ngunnawal Country, and Online*

Jointly presented by CEPAR and CAMA in the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU, this Policy Dialogue brings together academia, government, industry and the community to consider current and future challenges for decision making in old age.

CEPAR’s latest research brief on 'Financial Decision Making for and in Old Age' has been launched at this Policy Dialogue event.

  • Read the new research brief here
  • Read the media release here
  • View the Policy Dialogue program here

Jump to:

Video recordings

Welcome remarks and session 1:


Session 2:

Session 3:

Panel session and closing remarks:

Policy Dialogue Co-Chairs: 

Distinguished Professor Warwick McKibbin AO, CEPAR, CAMA, ANU
Scientia Professor John Piggott AO, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney


Distinguished Professor Warwick McKibbin AO, CEPAR, CAMA, ANU
Scientia Professor John Piggott AO, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney

Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney
Professor Hazel Bateman, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney
Rafal Chomik, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney
Professor Michael Keane, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney
Dr Timothy Neal, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney

Hong Yu, CAMA, ANU
Silke Weiss, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney

Program (subject to minor changes)


10 OCTOBER 2022 

8:30 – 9:30

Arrival and Registration

9:30 – 9:45


John Piggott, CEPAR Director, UNSW Sydney

Renée Fry-McKibbin, Interim Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU


9:45 – 10:50

Things we need

Chair: George Kudrna, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney


Financial Decision Making for and in Old Age

Rafal Chomik, CEPAR Senior Research Fellow, UNSW Sydney

View/download presentation slides

Abstract: The new CEPAR research brief explores how tackling three areas can help personal financial decision making for and in old age: (1) boosting financial literacy and cognitive health (the things we need); (2) coming to terms with biases (the things we need to be aware of); and (3) refining the choice architecture in the retirement income system (the things policy can affect). The focus is on decisions related to personal retirement finances, which in Australia are overwhelmingly about superannuation – the individual savings pillar of the retirement income system. So, much of the presented research relates to super, with considerable attention to the topic of the moment: the decumulation of super, where there is new scope for innovation. Examples touch on and can be applied to other financial decisions related to housing, insurance, aged care, and retirement from work.



Cognitive Changes in Ageing and their Impact on Decision-making

Kaarin Anstey, Scientia Professor of Psychology, CEPAR Co-Deputy Director, UNSW Sydney

View/download presentation slides

Abstract: An overview of normal and pathological changes in cognitive function that occur in ageing, will be provided. Prevalence of rates of minor and major neurocognitive disorders will be reviewed in relation to the retirement age, and the age at which older adults make major financial decisions. Psychological and lifestyle factors influencing decision-making will also be discussed. Consideration will be given to the impact of cognitive ageing on decision-making at the population level.




Combined Q&A session

10:50 -11:20

Morning Tea

11:20 – 12:35

Things we should be aware of

Chair: Rafal Chomik, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney


International Keynote: Financial Decision Making in Older Age: Key Points

Duke Han, Professor of Family Medicine, Neurology, Psychology, and Gerontology, Director, Neuropsychology Division, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

View/download presentation slides

Abstract: Older adults hold a significant amount of wealth, yet a portion of older adults show poor financial decision making resulting in financial exploitation. This can have a devastating impact on wellbeing and independence in older age; however, the reasons for this are poorly understood. This presentation will review key points from our research program identifying factors associated with financial decision making and vulnerability to exploitation in older age. 

11:40-11:50 Q&A discussion


Understanding How Senior Citizens Make Health Insurance Choices

View/download presentation slides

Michael Keane, Professor of Economics, CEPAR Chief Investigator, UNSW Sydney

Abstract: I will discuss the evidence on how senior citizens make decisions about supplemental health insurance.Research has shown they have a limited understanding of choice alternatives, and that their decision-making is sub-optimal in a number of dimensions. These problems are particularly severe for senior citizens who suffer from Alzheimer's or depression.



  • Ben Newell, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, CEPAR Associate Investigator, UNSW Sydney

View/download presentation slides


Combined Q&A session

12:30 – 13:30


13:30 – 14:45

Things that policy can affect

Chair: Gaoyun (Sophie) Yan, CEPAR, UNSW Sydney


International Keynote: Applying Behavioural Science to Decumulation Decision-Making

Suzanne Shu, John S. Dyson Professor in Marketing, Dean of Faculty and Research, Cornell University

View/download presentation slides here

Abstract: The issue of decumulation of retirement assets is increasingly important to economists, public policy experts, and the financial services industry. The research presented here was designed to better understand decumulation decisions, including annuity choice and Social Security claiming, by examining individual psychological differences theorized to drive such decisions as well as by testing information presentation interventions proposed to have an effect on choices. Our findings provide important insights for the continued design of interventions to help retirees make optimal individual retirement decisions.


Things that policy can affect: What works, what doesn’t, what next? 

Hazel Bateman, Professor of Pension Economics, CEPAR Co-Deputy Director, UNSW Sydney

View/download presentation slides here

Abstract: Australian policy for retirement saving and spending has focused on mandatory cover and tax incentives, MySuper defaults, and access to regulated information in accumulation and freedom of choice in decumulation. This presentation will report the findings of academic research exploring the effectiveness of strategies designed to support financial decision making for retirement – including choice architecture and regulated information disclosure, as well as ‘just in time’ product information and online tools.  




Combined Q&A session

14:45 – 15:15

Afternoon Tea

15:15 –16:45


Challenges and responses for implementation

Panel Chair: Warwick McKibbin, CEPAR, CAMA, ANU



  • Ian Yates, CEO, COTA
  • Mark Oliver, Chief Distribution Officer, Insignia Financial
  • Lynn Kelly, First Assistant Secretary, Retirement, Advice and Investment Division, Treasury
  • Susan Thorp, Professor of Finance, CEPAR Associate Investigator, The University of Sydney
    View/download presentation slides here



Marc J. de Cure, CEPAR Advisory Board Chair, Adjunct Professor, CEPAR, UNSW Business School

Speaker bios

John Piggott is Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) at the University of New South Wales, where he is Scientia Professor of Economics. A former Australian Professorial Fellow, he has published widely on issues in retirement and pension economics and finance; and in public finance more generally; his research has appeared in the leading international economics and actuarial academic journals. He is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of the Economics of Ageing.John worked with the Japanese government for nearly a decade from 1999 on pension and population ageing issues. He has undertaken consultancies and contract research for a range of foreign governments and international organisations, including Russia, Indonesia, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and UNESCAP. From 2008-2010 he was Visiting Scholar at the Wharton School of Business, and in 2018, was awarded a Rockefeller Residency to undertake research into ageing and inequality in Asia. In 2019, he was appointed co-chair of the Think20 (T20) Task Force on Aging Population during Japan’s G20 Presidency, and from 2019 to 2022 was a Commissioner on the US National Academy of Medicine’s International Commission on Healthy Longevity. He jointly led the establishment of the International Pension Research Association (IPRA) which was launched at the OECD in Paris in 2019. At a national level, he was a member of both the Henry Tax Review (2008-9) and the Australian Ministerial Superannuation Advisory Committee for 5 years from 2007. Professor Piggott is appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2020 Australia Day Honours List for his distinguished service to education, to population ageing research and to public finance policy development.

Renée Fry-McKibbin is the Interim Director of Crawford School of Public Policy in the College of Asia and the Pacific. She is also the co-director of the Finance and the Macroeconomy research program and the Commodities and the Macroeconomy research program within the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA). Renée also holds positions as a research associate in the H.O Stekler Research Project on Forecasting at George Washington University, and the Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum Analysis at the B.I. Norwegian Business School. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia where she is Chair of the disciplines in Panel B: Business and Economics.  She is a board member of the Australasian Macroeconomics Society and a steering committee member on the University of York Asian Research Network Meeting. She is Editor of the Economic Record, and an Associate Editor for Finance Research Letters. Renée publishes in the area of financial market and macroeconometrics, mainly focusing on developing frameworks to model the transmission of international economic and financial market shocks to small open economies, such as those sourced in commodity markets, global business cycles and financial market crises. Her principal publications appear in the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, the Journal of Economic Literature, the Journal of Banking and Finance, and Quantitative Finance.

Rafal Chomik is a Senior Research Fellow at CEPAR, located in the UNSW Business School. He joined CEPAR in 2012 to lead the centre’s research translation effort. Rafal has worked in economic and business consulting, as an economic advisor in the British civil service, and a pensions economist at the OECD in Paris. He specialises in demography, social policy analysis, and the visual presentation of quantitative information: charts.


Kaarin Anstey is a CEPAR Co-Deputy Director, ARC Laureate, Director of the UNSW Sydney Ageing Futures Institute focused on enabling optimal ageing for individuals and society, and Senior Principal Research Scientist at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).  Kaarin’s research programs focus on the causes, consequences and prevention of cognitive ageing, dementia, and common mental disorders in adulthood. A second focus is on older drivers’ risk assessment and safety. Kaarin has worked extensively with longitudinal studies, the development of risk assessment tools, and interventions to optimise healthy ageing and mobility. Kaarin also leads the PATH Through Life Project, a large cohort study focusing on common mental disorders and cognitive function, based in the ACT and surrounding regions.

Dr Diane Hosking is the senior research officer at National Seniors Australia where she manages the organisation’s research program. Diane completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Adelaide and CSIRO Human Nutrition. She moved to Canberra to take up a post-doc position with CEPAR at the Centre for Research into Ageing Health and Wellbeing at ANU where she worked on a number projects focused on the outcomes and prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. Diane joined the National Seniors research team in 2019 and is enjoying the opportunity to contribute across research, advocacy and policy work. 



Michael Lye joined the Department of Health in December 2019 as Deputy Secretary responsible for Ageing and Aged Care. Prior to joining the Department, Michael was a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Social Services, where his responsibilities included disability and carers policy and programs, the National Disability Strategy, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Disability Employment Services. Prior to this, Michael held the position of Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Social Services. Michael has a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in psychology and law and industrial relations, and a Masters of Social Welfare Administration and Planning.


Duke Han, PhD, is the Director of the Neuropsychology Division in the Department of Family Medicine and a tenured Full Professor of Family Medicine, Neurology, Psychology, and Gerontology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He is also a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the National Academy of Neuropsychology. Dr. Han is interested in the factors that affect cognition and decision making in aging. He also has special interests in using novel neuroimaging and statistical approaches to better understand these factors. He was the recipient of the prestigious Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award from the National Institutes on Aging, and is the primary investigator on numerous research grants extramurally funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and private foundations. He is a founding Governance Committee member of the Global Council on Brain Health, an independent science collaborative supported by AARP with help from AgeUK. His work has been featured in multiple international media outlets, including Reuters, CBS, PBS, Forbes, and U.S. News and World Report.

Michael Keane is a CEPAR Chief Investigator and Professor of Economics in the UNSW Business School. Several independent sources have placed Michael Keane among the top economists internationally in terms of citations and the impact of his work. In 2013 he was ranked as top economist in the 1990 PhD cohort by Research Papers in Economics (RePEc). He is considered to be a world leader in choice modelling and his expertise is sought both nationally and internationally. In 2009 he prepared a report on tax transfers and labour supply for the Australian Treasury’s Commission on Australia’s Future Tax System. He has been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund at various times throughout his career. He was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2005 and in 2018 was elected to the Econometric Society Council. He won the Kenneth Arrow Award in 2008, was named an Australian Federation Fellow in 2005 and was awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2011. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Econometrics and Quantitative Marketing and Economics.

Ben Newell is Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Deputy Head of the School of Psychology at UNSW Sydney. His research focuses on the cognitive processes underlying judgment, choice and decision-making and the application of this knowledge to environmental, medical, financial and forensic contexts. He has published over 150 articles and book chapters and is the lead author of the book Straight Choices: The Psychology of Decision Making. Ben has worked with industry and government partners on projects including climate change communication, child protection, aged-care provision and retirement wealth-planning. A key theme of much of this work is over-coming the myopic thinking that tends to cloud our judgment when we are making decisions about an uncertain future. Ben is a member of the Academic Advisory Panel of the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government.



Suzanne B. Shu is the Dean of Faculty and Research for the Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business, and the John S. Dyson Professor in Marketing at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Her main area of research is in consumer financial decision making, especially regarding retirement income decisions. Dean Shu received a PhD from the University of Chicago and holds degrees in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. She is currently an NBER Research Associate and has been a visiting scholar for several years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


Hazel Bateman is a Professor in the School of Risk & Actuarial Studies, UNSW Sydney, and Co-Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR).  Hazel’s research focusses on consumer financial decision making especially as it relates to retirement accumulation and decumulation with an emphasis on interventions to facilitate better financial decisions. Her current research investigates the role of choice and information architecture on lifecycle financial decisions including superannuation and housing. She also works on design of and demand for retirement products including annuities, aged care insurance and home equity release products. She is the author of over 70 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and has been a Chief Investigator on over a dozen Australian Research Council funded projects. Hazel has consulted on retirement income issues to international organisations including the OECD, the World Bank, the Social Insurance Administration (China) and the Korean Institute of Health and Social Affairs. She is the Chair of Netspar’s Scientific Council and President of the International Pension Research Association (IPRA) and serves on the UniSuper Consultative Committee and the Advisory Boards of the Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index, the Conexus Institute and the Centre for Behavioural Economics, Science and Technology (BEST).

As the Chief Marketing and Growth Officer at UniSuper, Dani Murrie is responsible for telling the story of one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, and achieving ongoing growth as a fund open to all Australians. Dani joined UniSuper in January 2022 following an extensive career in finance, working across Colonial First State, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank in the United Arab Emirates. Most recently, she led the operationalisation of an enterprise-wide digital transformation program at MetLife Australia. Dani has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Accounting from UNSW and further qualifications in digital marketing, advertising and financial planning.

Shang Wu is an Associate Portfolio Manager in the Investment Strategy team at Aware Super. Shang’s role focuses on investment and retirement strategy research including members’ investment choices and developing retirement solutions for the fund. He is also responsible for the research collaboration between the fund and academia in these fields. Shang has over 10 years of experience in the investment and retirement strategy research. Shang obtained his PhD in Actuarial Studies at UNSW Australia. His academic research focuses on financial decision making in retirement. He is a CEPAR Associate Investigator, and he has published several papers in leading international economic journals. Shang is a qualified actuary and a member of the Actuaries Institute’s Superannuation and Investments Practice Committee and the Retirement Income Work Group. 

Ian Yates is Chief Executive of Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, the national peak consumer body for older Australians. Ian has played national leadership roles in COTA since 2002 after being Chief Executive of COTA SA since 1989. He is also Chair of the newly established Ageing and Aged Care Council of Elders, a member of the National Aged Care Advisory Council and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Advisory Council. and was a member of the Aged Care Financing Authority from 2012 to 2021. Ian also represents older Australians on other key federal government and sector advisory bodies including the ATO Superannuation Industry Stewardship Group; the ASIC Consumer Advisory Panel; a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR); Chair of the Management Committee of the Australasian Journal on Ageing; a Director of Livable Housing Australia; and a Board member of the Aged Rights Advocacy Service.  Ian held senior positions in public health governance and in essential services in South Australia throughout the 2000’s and served on the Flinders University Council for 20 years including seven years as Deputy Chancellor. Ian is Emeritus Deputy Chancellor of Flinders University and holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University. He was awarded Membership in the Order of Australia (AM) in June 2005.

Mark Oliver is the Chief Distribution Officer at Insignia Financial and the Group executive responsible for Product, Sales and Relationship Management functions across Platforms, Investments and Private Trustee Services. Mark joined Insignia in 2016 from BlackRock, where he was Managing Director, Head of Wholesale Advisory and iShares having previously held executive roles at SSgA and Credit Suisse Asset Management. He has over 25 years’ experience in the financial services in Australia and the UK. As an experienced wealth management distribution, product and marketing professional, Mark has a strong track record of building and reconfiguring businesses and leading multi-functional teams in Institutional, Wholesale and Direct Retail channels across a diverse range of wealth management products and services.

Lynn Kelly is the First Assistant Secretary for the Retirement, Advice and Investment Division at Treasury, who are responsible for providing policy and legislative advice to Government on initiatives to improve Australians’ financial security and raise retirement standards. Lynn’s previous roles at Treasury have included the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Board of Tax and Chief Adviser, Corporate and International Taxation Division. Lynn joined Treasury’s Sydney office in December 2016 after over twenty years as a tax professional in the private sector where she worked across diverse industries, including banking, media and consulting.


Susan Thorp is Professor of Finance and Associate Dean Research at the University of Sydney Business School. She researches consumer finance, focusing on retirement savings. She uses theoretical, empirical and experimental techniques to test consumer responses to advice, disclosures and choice architecture. Her research has been published in leading international academic journals including Management Science, the Review of Finance and the Economic Journal, and has attracted over four million dollars in public and industry funding. Susan is a member of the Steering Committee of the Mercer CFA Institute Global Pensions Index, a member of the Research Committee of the OECD/International Network on Financial Education and a Director of Super Consumers Australia.



Marc J de Cure is Chair of the CEPAR Advisory Board and Adjunct Professor, CEPAR, UNSW Business School. Marc has recognised since 2001 the social and economic significance of demographic change and the need to undertake and promulgate research to inform government policy, social awareness and commercial responses. He played a key role in establishing CEPAR and provides critical input to the development of the Centre’s ongoing strategy, research translation and engagement activities. He has chaired both the Advisory Board and the Leaders’ Forum since inception. Marc has been a member of the Business Advisory Council of the UNSW Business School since 2001 and was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the UNSW Business School in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from UNSW and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants ANZ. Marc has been a non-executive company director and senior executive in financial and professional services groups globally. He was AIA Group’s Executive Vice President & CFO and AMP Group’s CFO, Executive General Manager Strategy and Executive General Manager responsible for AMP Bank and Virgin Money, and a senior partner in PwC and Bain & Co and AMP’s Asian and European Operations.


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* At this stage the event is planned to take place in-person, in compliance with any pandemic-related government or university restrictions that may be in place at the time. CEPAR will monitor the developing situation, and, should circumstances necessitate, the format may be converted to a mix of online and in-person or entirely online participation.

Enquiries: cepar@unsw.edu.au, for media or event enquiries please contact Silke Weiss (she/her) or Hong Yu (she/her)

Monday, October 10, 2022 - 09:30
End date: 
Monday, October 10, 2022 - 17:00
Dual mode