Australia’s mandatory Superannuation Guarantee requires its citizens to save at least 9 percent of their income towards retirement. In many Asian nations, economic growth has spurred reexamination of pension systems to meet the needs of rapidly evolving societies. Would a mandatory savings plan be more effective than the current U.S. voluntary system? How have Asian nations have restructured their pension systems to deal with legacy costs? And what can Americans learn from the way Australia uses both employer and employee representatives to shape investment choices?
On September 17, the Retirement Security Project at Brookings and the AARP Public Policy Institute hosted a discussion of what the United States might learn from retirement savings systems in Australia and Asia. Opening speakers included Nick Sherry, who helped shape the Australian system as a cabinet minister and ran a Superannuation fund in the private sector, and Josef Pilger, an advisor on pension reform to both the Malaysian and Hong Kong governments and many industry providers. Steve Utkus, David Harris and Benjamin Harris, retirement experts from both the United States and the United Kingdom, considered how reforms in Australia and Asia can shape the American debate and whether this country should adopt key features from those foreign systems.