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The Global Future of Retirement Includes New Media

One journo’s virgin attempt at snackable reporting

Last week I was graciously invited under the Pensions & Investments tent to the Global Future of Retirement event, a two-day affair at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. There we heard from the giants of the global pensions industry — those with trillions of dollars of future retiree assets in their care.

The convo kicked off with a bang, with Hiromichi Mizuno, CIO of the world’s largest pension fund, the $1.1 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, and ended with a visit from the world’s largest asset manager, Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, with $4.7 trillion under management. Whereas Mizuno, barely six months into the job, described his singular effort to jump-start the long-awaited secular rotation into equities and out of bonds, Fink decried the growing numbers of senior citizens returning to the workforce to supplement their Social Security, warning that the growing numbers of destitute seniors will be a drag on the future U.S. economy.

In between we heard from Arthur Laffer, the Reagan-era economist who championed the notion of a “trickle down” economy. He told a rapt audience of the hopeful that 2015 resembles 1979, meaning, great things are just around the corner, and serving to balance some of Fink’s gloom. The first-day keynote was given by Mark Fawcett, the earnest CIO of the U.K.’s National Employment Savings Trust, designed to facilitate the auto-enrollment of that country’s 10 million workers into its savings scheme.

In other words, the topic was very big money and how to get some of it into the hands of those who need it most: the retired workforce. This is one of the bigger questions of our age — or the biggest, if you agree with Fink — at a time when many of today’s 20-somethings are looking at another 80 years of life. In the U.S. alone, close to 50 million people have no access to a workplace retirement plan.

A big show like this calls for major Twitter activity from a financial reporter. The tweeting opportunities were so rich that it became the motivation for my first foray into Storify. For those of you with more serious jobs than we in the Fourth Estate handle today, Storify is a social media platform that enables anyone to create a story from a string of Tweets or posts from Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and other social media. It enables the author to deliver a story in a much more snackable form than those old-school long lines of text. Having spent two days reporting on the conference via my Twitter account, I wanted to encapsulate the high points in a medium created just for that purpose.

So, instead of a longer report on the conference, I offer the link to my first Storify.

I hope my Storify hits the high points for you. For a full report and all of the conference tweets, you can visit #GFOR2015 on Twitter.

Follow Frances Denmark on Twitter at @francesdenmark.

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