Michael Rice, CEO of research house Rice Warner, has been named Actuary of the Year by The Actuaries Institute.
Mr Rice has built a strong reputation as an independent advocate for public policy across Australia’s superannuation and retirement sectors since establishing his consultancy in 1987. The group now employs around 70 people.
Over the years he has provided advice and research to financial institutions and major superannuation funds operating in the Australian wealth management industry and has undertaken commissioned research for major industry bodies.
Research topics include Age Pension dependency, superannuation fund fees, projections of both the superannuation and personal investments markets, analysis of member choice and evaluating retirement strategies for superannuation funds.
Mr Rice has lead teams making submissions to government financial services reviews. These include submissions to the Henry tax review, Cooper superannuation review and Financial System Inquiry, along with submissions to Treasury, Senate Committees and the Productivity Commission.
More recently, Mr Rice has advocated for better outcomes for young savers wooed into higher-fee superannuation accounts by social media savvy marketers. He has also urged the superannuation industry to identify underperforming funds with a view to improving member benefits.
Mr Rice has also supported gender equality in his own firm. Rice Warner’s female employees have been offered a package of benefits, including flexible work conditions, paid parental leave, and an additional 2 per cent payment of their salary into superannuation from 2013..
The move was aimed at dealing with the fact that women often face retirement with significantly less in savings than their male counterparts, even though they live longer so they need to save more. That results from lower pay and the need many women have to take time out of the workforce to have children.
Mr Rice has served on the Actuaries Institute’s Council and is currently the Convenor of the Public Policy Committee. He has written two books on superannuation and prepared several professional papers.
He sits on the Advisory Board of the College of Business and Economics at Australian National University and has chaired investment committees at major superannuation funds.