Shlomo Benartzi Receives Applied retirement Research Award

To be presented at RIIA’s fall conference

Boston, MA (July 23, 2013) – Shlomo Benartzi, Professor and Co-Chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at UCLA Anderson School of Management, is to receive the award for Achievement in Applied Retirement Research, which is sponsored by Research Magazine / ThinkAdvisor.com and presented at the Retirement Income Industry Association’s Annual Fall Conference and Awards Gala.  This year the event is hosted by Dimensional Fund Advisors at their Austin, TX office on October 7-8, 2013.

Professor Benartzi is a leading authority on behavioral finance with a special interest in household finance and participant behavior in retirement savings plans.  He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Consulting with many financial institutions and serving on numerous advisory boards, he also serves as an academic advisor and chief behavioral economist for the Allianz Global Investors Center for Behavioral Finance.   In addition, Benartzi is a co-founder of the Behavioral Finance Forum, an organization dedicated to helping consumers make better financial decisions by fostering collaborative efforts between academics, industry leaders and government officials.

Professor Benartzi’s most significant research contribution is the development, with Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago (Thaler was also a recipient of this award in 2011), of Save More Tomorrow (SMarT), a behavioral prescription designed to help employees increase their savings rates gradually over time.  At one organization, SMarT increased employee savings rates from 3.5% to 13.6%.  The SMarT program is now offered by more than half of the large retirement plans in the U.S. and a growing number of plans in Australia and the U.K.  The program has also been incorporated in the Pension Protection Act of 2006, helping millions of Americans boost their retirement savings. His book, Save More Tomorrow: Practical Behavioral Finance Solutions to Improve 401(k) Plans, is currently available via Amazon.com.

“Some academics are great theorists, some great teachers, but few can claim to have explored and discovered practical solutions to big challenges,” says Gil Weinreich, editor of Research magazine and ThinkAdvisor.com. “Shlomo Benartzi is an exemplar of the professor as problem solver, the expert who stands out for having improved the welfare of vast numbers of American workers who were not saving enough for their retirement. Using behavioral strategies to increase employees’ savings rate by a factor of four, and then driving that program’s adoption by half the largest retirement plans in the U.S., epitomizes what we hope to recognize and encourage through our award for Achievement in Applied Retirement Research.”

Previous winners of the award include: James Poterba, Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT (in 2012); Richard Thaler (in 2011), the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business;  Olivia Mitchell (in 2010), Professor of Insurance and Risk Management at The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania; Laurence J. Kotlikoff (in 2009), Professor of Economics at Boston University; Moshe Milevsky (in 2008), Executive Director of The IFID Centre and associate professor at York University; and, Boston University Professor Zvi Bodie (in 2007).

About the Retirement Income Industry Association (www.riia-usa.org)
Founded in 2006 by leading financial companies, advisors, associations and academics, the Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) provides a rigorous, research-driven, household-focused foundation for developing retirement solutions to serve retirees today and into the future. A non-profit organization, RIIA achieves its mission through a unique View Across the Silos allowing members to see change and disruption before others while achieving competitive advantage through diverse discussions, advanced education, market insight, research, comprehensive data, standards and thought leadership for successful retirement income management.