Michelle Reyers, PhD, CFA
Policy Lead at Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission
What are some of your career highlights so far?
The CFA Institute website highlights that the CFA charter “equips professionals with the versatility to take their career paths in different directions” and this has very much been the case in my career.
I was awarded my CFA Charter in 2002 and have been fortunate to have had three different “careers” starting in the finance & banking sector before moving into the academic world, and more recently working for the public sector in New Zealand.
My career highlights from each area are quite varied including being part of the team that successfully applied for a banking licence for HSBC in the years following the transition to democracy in South Africa. My academic career highlights include being awarded my PhD, which considered the impact of behavioural factors on retirement savings decisions, and getting to meet (and go on a hike) with behavioural economics guru, Dan Ariely, at a conference in Boulder Colorado.
My most recent career highlight has been assisting the Retirement Commissioner to deliver the Review of Retirement Income Policies that was released towards the end of 2022. The review provides key recommendations for government, private sector, researchers, employers, and Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission to improve the retirement outcome for all New Zealanders.
What do you like most about your job/industry?
What I have really enjoyed about my various roles is the transferability of skills within the finance industry and beyond. In my current job I am able to use the technical knowledge that I developed in the finance industry, along with the research skills from my academic career, to assist the Commission in improving financial futures and ultimately working towards a better retirement for all.
What are your interests outside of work?
Living in Wellington I really enjoy running and biking in the many green spaces and along the beautiful coast. I am also making my way through some of the Great Walks and Great Rides around New Zealand, next on the list is the West Coast Wilderness Trail.
Can you recommend some good reading and/or listening/viewing?
I am looking forward to the release of Misbelief: What makes rational people believe irrational things, by Dan Ariely. For those who haven’t read his other books I would highly recommend Predictably Irrational: the hidden forces that shape our decisions.
From a listening perspective I really enjoy the Hidden Brain podcast as well as Tim Harford’s Cautionary Tales.
Make a prediction for 2028
If the last five years have taught me anything it is to expect the unexpected, so instead I’ll leave you with a quote attributed to Nobel laureate Niels Bohr; “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”