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Time to brainstorm

MIT contest seeks ideas about shifting to a DC retirement system

Robert Pozen

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is offering a prize pool of $20,000 to find the next great ideas for helping public defined benefit plans transition to defined contribution plans.

Of course, these great ideas must be "well-reasoned, prudent and implementable," said the recent announcement of the contest by MIT's Golub Center for Finance and Policy. The contest is open to a broad range of people with academic and/or practical interest in finance and retirement management. Entries are due Jan. 15.

"Clearly, the stresses on state and local pension plans are enormous," said Deborah Lucas, professor of finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and director of the Golub Center, in an interview. "We hope to explore a set of policies to transition from the current stressed system to something more sustainable."

The prize money is provided by Robert Pozen, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Mr. Pozen has been a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution since 2010.

From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Pozen was executive chairman of MFS Investment Management; and before that, he was vice chairman of Fidelity Investments and president of Fidelity Management & Research Co.