7th Global Pension and Savings Conference
September 19-21, 2016Washington, DC

The 7th Global Pension and Savings Conference used shared global experiences to set out a positive forward-looking agenda for the tools, techniques, and policies to improve pension outcomes in the coming decades.

Seeking Solutions to Fill the Savings Gap: How to persuade people to save during their working years, so they can gradually build up the savings they will need in retirement?



The 7th Global Pension and Savings Conference will use shared global experiences to set out a positive forward-looking agenda for the tools, techniques, and policies to improve pension outcomes in the coming decades. The conference is held every 2 years – and the proceedings of the 6th Global Pension and Savings Conference held in 2014 can be found here.

The agenda will combine the insights of country, regional and global experts from government, regulators and supervisors, academics and pension industry leaders. It will provide a key input and platform for how good policy and delivery of public and private pensions can help to eradicate poverty and boost shared prosperity sustainably.

As in previous years, the conference attracts senior policy makers, regulators and supervisors who are involved with pension funds systems, both in the retirement and payout phase; pension fund managers and managers from life insurance companies; academics; officials from international financial organizations; pension fund managers associations; as well as staff from the World Bank Group, and the International Monetary Fund.

For any questions, contact the Pensions & Savings Conference Team:



Day 1. Pensions & Persuasion


Opening Remarks: Jan Walliser, Vice President Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions


Session 1: Communicating and delivering reforms
In this session World Bank Senior Directors and Executive Director Board members who have been involved in the pension industry and pension policy and reforms in their countries will discuss their experiences, what can be learnt from their countries and the importance of the topic to the mission of the World Bank goals.

  • Gloria M. Grandolini, Senior Director, Finance and Markets Global Practice
  • Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director, Social Protection and Labor Global Practice
  • Subhash Chandra Garg, Executive Director, India


Session 2: Pathways from short-term savings to retirement-income provision: the subtlety of savings among the informal sector

Dean Karlan, Professor of Economics, Yale University


Coffee break


Session 3: Building on financial-inclusion initiatives to extend pension provision
In this session speakers will outline how improvements in financial inclusion through the use of modern ID, IT and payments systems can be leveraged to improve coverage and reduce costs in pension provision. New developments have created options to overcome the barriers of distribution and costs that have been a persistent problem in expanding coverage efficiently and securely.

Chair: Robert Palacios, Global Lead, World Bank


Lunch Speaker: Pension reform and the media, Rose Kwena, Head Corporate Communications Department, Retirement Benefit Authority
Ms. Kwena is an expert in communications who runs the outreach and education program for the Retirement Benefits Authority in Kenya. Ms. Kwena will discuss her experience of working with the media and how to use journalists to build support for difficult reforms. She will showcase some of the RBA’s successful campaigns.


Session 4: Persuasion or compulsion?
Pension policy makers seeking to expand coverage need to strike the right balance between making pensions mandatory, using new techniques like auto-enrolment and innovative approaches to get the best results when participation and contributions are voluntary. This session will examine the pros and cons of different approaches.

Chair: William Price, Senior Financial Specialist, World Bank 


Coffee break


Session 5: The art of persuasion and the politics of pension reform
This session will look at political economy issues and how to successfully communicate and execute complex pension reforms, drawing on both the academic and practical experience of the panel. 

Chair: Anita Schwarz, Lead Economist, World Bank



Day 2. Pensions and Portfolios

9.00-9.30 Estelle James Memorial Lecture: “Is it possible to have a progressive reform of the first pillar in a climate of austerity and recession? The case of Greece, by Prof. George Katrougalos, Minister of Labor, Social Security & Social Solidarity, Greece


Session 6: Investing pensions for development
The panel will take the discussion from the theoretical impact which pension asset can have on the real economy to practical examples for how this potential has been unleashed. Getting the governance of the funds right and changing the philosophy of investment is the first step. Creating instruments to allow pension funds to invest safely and securely in real assets is then key. Example of how this has been achieved in small countries with illiquid capital markets will then be discussed.

Chair: Dave Uduanu, Chair, Africa Pension Fund Network  


Coffee break


Session 7: Investing pensions for the long term
Continuing the theme of practical investment guidance, this session will discussed blockages to and solutions for allowing pension funds to act as long-term investors. The burden of regulations will be considered, followed by lessons for constructing default funds and how to invest in illiquid assets – with lessons from the USA. An example of a practical instrument which has been designed for these purposes in Namibia will also be discussed.

Chair: Daniela Klingebiel, Principal Portfolio Manager, World Bank


Lunch Speaker: Larry Zimpleman, former Chair, CEO and President Principal Financial Group

Mr. Zimpleman has over 35 years’ experience with defined contribution programs around the world. From this vantage point, he will make suggestions for a framework about which governments could think from both a public and private perspective as they begin to grapple with the retirement adequacy issue. He will share what he has observed that works and what does not work in helping employees save for their own retirement.


Session 8:  Pensions and population ageing: what do people (and you) think: Intergenerational conflict or consensus?
Edward will present the results of a European study which looked at attitudes towards aging, retirement and savings across the continent – drawing lessons for pension reform design and implementation. The audience’s own views on the same topics will also be canvased and compared.

Moderator: Edward Whitehouse, Independent Consultant


Coffee break


Session 9: Retirement 2066: where do we see pension policy in fifty years’ time?
The final session of the day will involve some ‘blue sky thinking’ on the part of the audience and the panel. Come prepared to question the orthodox and thinking about the future.

Moderator: Edward Whitehouse, Independent Consultant

  • Fiona Stewart, Global Lead, World Bank 
  • Robert Palacios, Global Lead, World Bank
  • Yvonne Sin, Immediate Past Chair, Hong Kong Retirement Schemes Association
  • Elias Masilela, Executive Chairman, DNA Economics
  • Solange Berstein, Senior Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Pablo Antolin, Principal Economist and Head of Private Pensions Unit, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Day 3. Pensions in Practice: Parallel Workshops

9.00-9.10 Update on OECD, IOPS and World Bank Global Private Pension Data Initiative: by Pablo Antolin, Principal Economist, OECD and William Price, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank Group


Session 10: Strategy and Supervision for Pension Funds
This session will examine a number of current issues in supervision, from how to ensure supervisors focus on the most important long-run outcomes and embed them into their risk based focus to improving the benchmarking of investment returns and costs to improve returns for members.

Chair: Edward Odundo, CEO, International Organisation of Pensions Supervisors (IOPS)


Coffee break


Session 11: Administering Pension Schemes
This session will look at how to implement improved administrative systems – building on the discussions in the first day on the opportunities provided by new technology to improve security and reduce costs.

Chair: Carlos Ramirez, Chairman, National Commission for Retirement Savings (CONSAR)


Closing Remarks:

  • Samuel Maimbo, Practice Manager, World Bank 
  • Robert Palacios, Global Lead, World Bank