Melbourne Business School News Alumnus David Orford donates $900K for retirement research

Alumnus David Orford donates $900K for retirement research

David Orford, founder and chairman of superannuation software company Financial Synergy, has pledged $900,000 to Melbourne Business School to fund research to help Australians manage their retirement income more effectively.

david and delyce

The actuary and MBS alumnus, who sold Financial Synergy to ASX-listed IRESS in 2016, says the three-year research project will investigate how Australians can optimise their retirement income and security through a better understanding of lifetime pensions and annuities.

“Our world-leading compulsory superannuation system requires employed Australians to save for their retirement,” Mr Orford said. “Its main purpose is to give retirees a post-retirement income that continues for their lifetime, and that of their dependants or spouses if needed, and broadly keeps up with inflation. But it’s not fulfilling that purpose. We need research that shows how you can make smart retirement choices.”

Working with key players in the retirement-planning industry, the research will look at the value of investment-linked pensions, which are a newly available form of pension/annuity. It will test the effectiveness of existing and fresh ways to reach, educate, engage and influence people planning their retirement and provide recommendations to make life after work more satisfying and financially secure.

The research is being funded through the Orford Foundation, established after Mr Orford and his wife, Delyce, sold Financial Synergy, whose software manages the accounts of about five million super fund members.

Mr Orford studied his MBA at MBS in 1974–6 and said the research was an opportunity to give back to an industry that Australians depend on and has rewarded him well.

“Melbourne Business School was the start of my education around management and leadership. At the time of its sale, Financial Synergy worked like a clock. The sale advisers said it was one of the best-managed companies they’d ever seen, which can be partly attributed to what I learnt at MBS, hence my desire to give back. I am proud to be working with such a competent and achievement-oriented organisation.”

Melbourne Business School will undertake the research in collaboration with Mr Orford and other retirement experts. The research fits with Melbourne Business School’s unique model of developing mutually beneficial, innovative approaches to solving complex problems in industry, government and the community through collaborative, impactful research.

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