Just as a mountaineer needs to understand the weather and all aspects of the slopes he wants to climb, pension lawmakers and those running pension plans need multidisciplinary training, said David Blake, program director of a new masters degree in pensions at Cass Business School, City University, London.
The yearlong program starts in September and is the first of its kind in the world, Mr. Blake said.
It is designed for government officials and corporate executives in charge of pension plans whose initial training might have been as an actuary or lawyer, but who now are finding themselves forced to make decisions on legal, asset management or financial matters related to pension plans.
"Pensions is not a natural subject for a youngster to move into, until a career path develops. It is often the case that people are thrust into a pensions job with limited or no expertise," Mr. Blake said. "People with partial expertise are passing regulations (such as accounting standard FRS 17) and not realizing the implications as they don't have a corporate finance background."
The course, which can be taken part-time over two years, will offer training in accounting, asset management, law, actuarial science, economics and corporate governance issues as they relate to pensions.
So far, up to half the entrants are from outside the U.K., particularly developing countries, he said.