Across Asia Pacific, people are living longer. Many of the countries in north Asia are some of the most long-lived (and increasingly elderly) on the planet, and their proportion of grey-haired citizens will only rise in the decades to come.

This is an increasing concern, as many regional countries have failed to adequately save enough for their population’s retirement needs, or put into place enough incentives to encourage people to put aside more money for their old age.

While the likes of Australia tackled this issue head-on, with its creation of the superannuation funds, many other nations are only beginning to become more engaged. As a result many pension funds (particularly state-linked ones) are often ponderous and prone to political interference.

The organisations will increasingly require strong leadership to improve their strategies and instil best practice if they are to be in good shape to meet the needs of their populations in 20, 30 or 40 years’ time.

In recognition of this, AsianInvestor decided to focus this year’s list of individuals on identifying people who stand out for improving the investing processes or operations of Asia-Pacific pension funds. To do so we consulted with a great number of pension fund experts, consultants, custodians and fund managers to gain a rounded perspective of these individuals across the Asia-Pacific region, before whittling down the list of suggestions to 20 executives.

There was a good level of unanimity about which particular individuals were most noteworthy. This may point to the fact that certain people do really stand out for the skills they bring to these institutional investors, but it could also demonstrate that pension funds have relatively limited benches of talent.

The list, which appears in the latest print edition of AsianInvestor and will be rolled out online over the next two weeks, starting tomorrow, is not ranked. Nor is it intended to be an exhaustive selection of the best people at Asia Pacific’s pension funds today. But hopefully it highlights why these particular executives in the region have so impressed their peers, business partners and colleagues.

At a time when Asia Pacific’s pension funds need to modernise, expand and improve, possessing such high calibre professionals will be vitally important. 

AsianInvestor will be hosting its first Pension Fund Forum in Hong Kong on May 29. For more details, contact Terry Rayner via email or on +852 3175 1963.