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Understanding customers' needs at all stages of life

Developing a deep understanding of our customers’ needs as they progress through different stages of life has always been a pillar of Prudential’s success. To this end, Prudential has sponsored a thought-leadership study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) looking at retirement planning in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

The report, ‘Balancing Tradition and Modernity: The Future of Retirement in East Asia’, was launched in Beijing, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in July 2012. It represents the second collaboration between Prudential and CSIS in a series of studies into global ageing preparedness. Key findings include:

  • The expectation that families in these Asian countries will provide for elderly members is under unprecedented pressure. As a result, individuals need to move towards taking greater responsibility for financing their own retirement.
  • In most of the countries surveyed people prefer personal savings-based retirement provision to government provision.
  • Traditional family support systems are weakening, but have not yet been adequately replaced by government and market substitutes.
  • Workers today are more affluent, more educated, more market-oriented and more entrepreneurial than today’s retirees. However, they are not saving nearly enough on their own to ensure an adequate standard of living in retirement.

‘As societies worldwide age, the challenge for governments and businesses is to anticipate and meet the needs of tomorrow’s growing elderly populations,’ said the report’s author, Richard Jackson. ‘The challenge is especially daunting in East Asia, because the region faces onrushing age waves while it is still developing and modernising. How decision-makers deal with that challenge will have important implications not just for the future prosperity of their own countries, but for other developed and developing nations around the world.’

The report identifies several key strategic responses by governments that can help individuals and societies better prepare for the changing needs of future retirees, including requiring workers to save more and raising retirement ages. The report also challenges the financial sector to ensure it offers flexible products for people who want to take responsibility for their own retirement.

‘For more than 88 years, Prudential has been helping individuals and families in Asia plan for their future and protect their long-term financial wellbeing,’ says Barry Stowe, Chief Executive of Prudential Corporation Asia. ‘The global ageing preparedness project provides fresh data and important consumer insights about retirement expectations across the region. We believe the findings will help facilitate a robust discussion and exchange of ideas among policymakers, the private sector and individuals in addressing the challenges of an ageing population in Asian societies.’

The full report, as well as supplementary materials including data, analysis and media coverage, is available on the project website at http://csis.org/program/global-aging-initiative

As societies worldwide age, the challenge for governments and businesses is to anticipate and meet the needs of tomorrow’s growing elderly populations.”

Richard Jackson, author of
‘Balancing Tradition and Modernity:
The Future of Retirement in East Asia’

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