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Voya researching ways to boost retirement

Charles P. Nelson
Charles P. Nelson

Voya Financial Inc. has unveiled a research institute that uses behavioral science studies to improve participants' retirement savings.

“We've only scratched the surface” in applying behavioral science to improving retirement investment outcomes, said Charles P. Nelson, the Windsor, Conn.-based CEO of Voya's retirement unit, in an interview. “There's tons more to do.”

Two weeks ago, his company launched the Voya Behavioral Finance Institute for Innovation with a goal of testing behavioral science concepts to help participants save more and enhance retirement outcomes.

Voya is working with Shlomo Benartzi, professor of accounting and co-chairman of the behavioral decision-making group at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is a senior academic adviser for Voya.

Research at the institute will be conducted in laboratory, panel and field settings, said a Voya news release about the institute's launch. The institute will work with Voya clients and distributors to translate behavioral science into investment/savings action.

Mr. Nelson said the institute's research will be available to everyone — including competitors. The research can be applied to key retirement issues such as participation rates, savings rates, auto features and investment allocation, he said.

This article originally appeared in the October 31, 2016 print issue as, "Voya researching ways to boost retirement".