An increase in life expectancy will force financial services to think more actively about the products they offer, according to a discussion paper released at the Actuaries Institute Financial Services Forum.
"Financial services businesses and trustees of super funds need to start thinking differently if they want to stay viable," said Actuaries Institute CEO and co-author Melinda Howe.
"What retirees need is a secure income. They need protection from market risk and longevity risk," said Howe.
Howe and fellow actuary Barry Rafe argue in the paper that rapid movements in life expectancy present major risks not only to society, but also to the future of Australian super funds, investment managers, insurers and other financial product providers.
The paper warns that Australia's Baby Boomers have already started retiring and will do so in force over the coming decade - moving a huge proportion of retirement savings into the 'draw down' phase.
The discussion paper said that in addition to unknowns around longevity, this known demographic change is already placing major pressure on super funds to structure their investments to more actively manage future net outflows.
"At the moment we have a good super system up until people retire, after that, everyone realises that we need to do more work," said Howe.
"A lot of techniques we use in defined benefit schemes can be used in defined contribution funds.
"If you retire for thirty years, you will experience two or three downturns," said Howe.
Howe said that currently, legislations and taxes were holding back financial products that could provide a secure retirement income.
"At the moment, the products aren't there, or they are too expensive," said Howe.