The provision of aged care is probably Australia’s surest bet as a growth industry. Ageing Australia will demand a full range of top-quality care , incorporating home care packages and then an ‘aging in place’ spectrum from retirement village units to ‘high care’ facilities, ideally in the same location. But how can these expectations be made more affordable, not to mention sustainable in an economic context? Super funds, already big players in the retirement incomes game, clearly have an opportunity to help their members in a new and exciting way. Last month, Conexus partnered with Mariner Financial to discuss the issue with a group of stakeholders – from the Federal Ministry for Ageing, aged care providers, institutional investors, consultants and, in Mariner, a would-be partner to super funds in making aged infrastructure more accessible as an investment for them, and as a service to their loyal members.

Participants at the roundtable were:

• Walter Secord, chief of staff, Minister for Ageing

• Deidre Ashe, finance manager, Salvation Army Aged Care Plus

• Matina Papathanasiou, partner, QIC global infrastructure team

• Sam Silicia, chief investment officer, HostPlus

• Guy McAliece, director, KPMG

• Michael Rice, principal, Rice Warner Actuaries

• Scott Marinchek, executive partner, Mariner Third Age Living

• Kate Anderson, superannuation and retirement strategist, Mariner Financial

• Amanda White, Conexus

• Michael Bailey, editor, Investment & Technology

Amanda White: Kate, can you start by giving us a demographic perspective?

Kate Anderson: To begin with we know that 56 per cent of Australians are over 60. And if you’re 50 already, men can expect to live until they’re 94 and women until 96.

However the average super balance for those people that are retiring now, say between 50 and 69, is only about $93,000. We know that 60 per cent of Australians believe they need at least $50,000 to live in a comfortable retirement. So obviously there is quite a large gap in someone retiring just with their superannuation beside their home and their other assets, and getting the type of lifestyle that they want in retirement.

So this round table discussion is looking at how super funds and also investment managers can participate now in the aged care sector. And the quote that Scott always uses is that it’s not a problem but an opportunity for all of us.

Walter Secord: Australians now have the world’s fourth longest life expectancy, and we now have a new phenomena in Australia which is called the ‘super old’ . At the moment we have 3000 people in Australia over the age of 100, and by 2055 we’re going to have 78,000 people over the age of 100.

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