TIAA-CREF picks 'Predictable Surprise' author for Samuelson award

Sylvester J. Schieber was named winner of the $10,000 TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security for his book, “The Predictable Surprise: The Unraveling of the U.S. Retirement System,” according to a TIAA-CREF statement Friday.

Mr. Schieber — who retired in 2006 from Watson Wyatt Worldwide, now Towers Watson, having served as vice president and U.S. director of benefit consulting and director of research and information — serves in senior advisory and research capacity to the firm and also is a private consultant on retirement and health issues.

In his book, published in 2012 by Oxford University Press, Mr. Schieber presents a comprehensive history of Social Security, defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, and offers suggestions to reform the retirement system.

“The uncertainty of the U.S. retirement system should be a concern for all workers and employers,” Mr. Schieber said in the statement. “We all play a role in shaping the future of retirement, and I am honored to be recognized. What is lacking is not plenty of suggestions on how to reform America's retirement system, but rather the political will to do so, and I hope that this book helps bring us one step closer to building that political will.”

The award, the 17th annual, is administered by the TIAA-CREF Institute, the educational arm of TIAA-CREF, which finances the prize. It is named for the 1970 winner of the Nobel prize in economics and CREF trustee from 1974 to 1985.

The institute planned to present the award on Friday to Mr. Schieber at the Allied Social Science Association's annual meeting in San Diego.