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Friday, June 14, 2019

Disruption Is a Privilege And Responsibility, Legal & General Group CEO Says

June 14, 2019. Shanghai – The world population is ageing fast. According to the most recent population report from the United Nations, the population aged 60 and above will reach 2.1 billion by 2050, and China will have a median age of 48, with 35% of the population aged 60 and over. Faced with unprecedented and challenges arising from ageing societies worldwide, the pressing need for investment and longevity solutions looms large. So, how can we address the ageing population’s calls for better solutions to declining retirement provision, together with strategies for housing and caring for the older segments of the population?

As part of 2019 CEIBS Master Class series, Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General Group, today shared his insights on the demographic challenges and long term solutions, as well as how savings of older generations can be put to work to solve societal problems. Legal & General is a leading global asset manager and the UK’s largest life insurer. CEIBS Director of EMBA Programme and Professor of Economics Zhu Tian hosted the event.

"Science and technology are moving faster than ever. And, now is the most exciting time to be a student,” Wilson said, noting that, as businesses and industries become connected beyond geographic and policy boundaries, abundant opportunities are arising in the fourth industrial age. He also pointed out that society is now faced with enormous economic and societal challenges, including climate change, ageing demographics and public health pressures. “We face unprecedented challenges, but also huge opportunities. Our job is to provide inspiring answers and then put them into action," he added.

Science has extended longevity and made huge gains in solving the diseases of the middle age, but not yet tackled the diseases of old age, Wilson continued, especially the area of the ‘three Ds’ – dementia, diabetes and depression. “We see a widening gap between disability-free life expectancy and life expectancy,” said Wilson. “The societal challenge is a goal of achieving an extension to healthy living for a large proportion of the population. Millions of older people are challenged every day to manage their activities of daily living. The challenge and the prize is not just to live longer but to live longer healthy lives.”

Following his discussion of ageing populations, Wilson looked into the strategies and solutions which have emerged in response to this trend. In his view, the challenges of an ageing population require long term solutions that harness science and technological disruption to benefit all of us. For example, with good air, food quality and working conditions, Japan enjoys longer life spans, but is challenged to increase productivity. On the other hand, the US’ higher GDP is testament to its success in disruptive technology. Disruption, as Wilson sees it, is a both privilege and a responsibility, but also an area where opportunities exist for China. As increasing longevity puts pressure on the traditional social systems, Wilson calls for everyone “to be dynamic doers, not just deep thinkers.”

Wilson also went on to share his insights on investment and longevity solutions from different perspectives, including the Legal & General retirement eco-system of retirement saving, retirement income, retirement lending and retirement living. He emphasised inter-generational fairness, including in allocation of social resources and for the older population to be empowered to continue working after retirement.

For businesses, Wilson further highlighted the huge opportunities in creating solutions for the ageing demographic and in accessing the age-tech industry. “The intersection between longevity and technologies promises a potential market of 27 trillion USD by 2025,” he said. He also suggested that firms should grasp the opportunities. “Companies, communities and governments need to work together,” he stated, noting that the challenges cannot be solved by governments alone. “Stakeholders have to have a shared vision. We have to innovate and invest through constructive, intergenerational cooperation.”

Following his speech, Mr. Wilson and Professor Zhu Tian discussed the impact of and solutions for ageing societies from different perspectives. Both agreed that a sound eco-system for retirement should be set up, covering retirement savings, retirement income and retirement debt. In addition, the ageing population needs to be empowered to continue working after they retire. Finally, they also pointed out that we should ensure a fair distribution of social resources among generations.

For more information about future CEIBS Master Classes and other upcoming events, visit the CEIBS events page here http://www.ceibs.edu/media/events.

Writer: 
Kate Jiang
Editor: 
Rachel Wang