Pension funds boring stuff?

Anyone who thinks that talking about pensions is boring, should attend a lecture of Rogér Otten. Surely, your opinion will be different afterwards. “Thanks to Dr. Otten’s lecture, I now believe that investment management is truly interesting and that the world of pension funds is more exciting than I ever imagined”, says Martijn Antzoulatos, Manager International Trade -EMEA of Rockwell Automation.

 

Yansen Lauw, Project Manager R&D at Lightyear adds: “Not only does Rogér show great passion and skills for pension investments, he also succeeds in conveying the message in a structured, insightful and interesting manner.” “Rogér explained the theory with real-life situations. This made it easy to understand and a pleasure to be part of this lecture”, says Bihter Değişmez Maas, Project Lead Data Quality at ASML.

About Rogér Otten

Dr. Rogér Otten is Assistant Professor of Finance at Maastricht University. Next to his academic position he works as Senior Policy Advisor Investments at ABP Pension Fund. Before that he worked in several roles at Philips Pension Fund, ING, ABP Investments and FundPartners. Rogér’s lecture was part of the Financial Management course and fitted in perfectly with the other lectures of Jaap Bos (Corporate Finance) and Dennis Bams (Corporate Risk Management).

Knowledge about financial markets is relevant

Rogér kicked off with the observation that knowledge about financial markets is relevant even if you are not employed in the financial industry. Why? Because it helps you to ask the right questions regarding your own pension and mortgage and supports you in making smart financial decisions. He explained the characteristics and advantages of mutual funds and hedge funds, gave thorough insight in the pension system and challenges the current pension systems are facing. Yansen Lauw: “Dr. Otten went above and beyond to bring us into the world of investment management. I am not working in a financial institution, but still found it very relevant to learn more about the pros and cons of investing in bonds, stocks or derivates and how to think about and investment strategy for my personal pension fund.”

Applicable in business and private life

“The angle of pension fund investments really brought the topic closer to home”, Martijn agrees. “A positive side-effect was that the insights shared by Dr. Otten provided heightened awareness regarding the different types of pension funds, pension plans and related investments and how, as an individual, to better prepare for retirement. In other words, the insights obtained during the session are applicable both in business and in private life. As a Supply Chain Manager for a US F500 company, I now better understand the underpinnings of some of our strategic financial decisions. And as a people manager in our company, I now have a better understanding of the pension plans we offer to our employees, which better enables me to understand certain related employee questions or concerns.” Bihter: “Personally I never had a chance to be a part of investment discussions, and, to be hounest, was never really interested in it. I even never logged into my pension fund account before. Dr. Otten’s lecture has definitely changed my view on the importance of pensions.”

Pension case

Bihter, Martijn and Yansen agree that the absolute highlight of the lecture was the pension fund case. Bihter: “In the beginning I was a bit worried since I don’t have any financial background. But since It was a group assignment, I had the opportunity to learn a lot from the others. I now understand how the pension system works and am well aware of the risks. I am really happy about that.” “The case was a great way to learn and dive deeper into the topic”, says Yansen. Martijn: “Dividing the overall topic into subtopics to be further researched and presented by subgroups allowed for a further deep-dive and understanding of the dynamics of pension fund investments, investment challenges, and the delicacy of certain (risky) investment vehicles, such as hedge funds. I definitely have gained a better understanding of pension investments and its associated challenges, a better understanding of risk/return strategies and am in a better position to form a reasoned opinion about investments vehicles.” “The lecture and the case were fun and brought the topic much closer to the heart”, Yansen concludes.

 

 

This article gives student insights in the experiences of our on-campus track module on Corporate Finance and Accounting. Our On-Campus track has a face-to-face learning format and is part of the executive modular part-time MaastrichtMBA programme. The programme has a Triple Crown accreditation and is aimed for professionals with at least 5 years of working experience.

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