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Self-administered pension schemes (SAPS) FAQs

A brief history of the self-administered pension scheme (SAPS) mortality investigation?

Historically pension schemes in the UK have used mortality tables based on population data or data collected from insurance companies. In 1997 the Pensions Board of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the CMI began considering the feasibility of research into the mortality experience of UK self-administered pension schemes. It was decided that a pilot investigation would be run on a small subset of self-administered schemes to see how the mortality compared to that of insured pensioners.

The results of this investigation were published in CMI Report 20 in 2001 and concluded amongst other things that the experience investigated was different from that underlying the insured pensioner investigation.

In 2002 further discussions were held and a decision to begin a more wide-ranging and substantial investigation into the mortality of self-administered schemes was taken. Initially a Working Party was formed and this subsequently became an official committee of the CMI in July 2006.

What data should be submitted?

Data should only be submitted for current pensioners, that is data in respect of retired members or pensions paid to dependants. Data should not be submitted in respect of deferred and active members of the pension scheme. Normally, data will be submitted by the Scheme Actuary responsible for the scheme.

At this stage only large schemes, those with more than 500 pensioners, are requested. This number was based on an analysis of the expected number of schemes and the cost of the whole investigation. Including smaller schemes would add to the cost without adding significantly to the validity of the data collected.

When should data be submitted?

Data can be submitted at any time but we expect that in most cases data submissions are made soon after the scheme valuation, with data from the valuation. This will usually be every three years, although schemes having annual valuations can submit each years data separately.

In what format should data be submitted?

The coding guide contains all the information required. Find out more about data submissions and for access to the latest coding guide. If you have any queries about data submission, please contact us on 020 7776 3820 or email

How are data problems handled by the CMI?

To keep the costs of the investigation down, the data must be provided in the standard form shown in the data specification. The CMI makes a limited number of checks on the data. If an error condition on a record can be corrected in some predetermined way (e.g. a missing amount of pension at the date of death) the system automatically updates the record (although in these cases it is preferable for the submitting firm to estimate these). If this cannot be done then the record is rejected.

The analysis is then performed on those records not rejected. In addition to the individual results report that is sent to the consultancy that supplied the data, a report that includes a brief summary of data that has been analysed, e.g. the number of records and the number of deaths, and details of records that have been rejected or amended is also provided.

The CMI performs limited checks on the results in respect of each scheme but asks that those submitting the data confirm that the results and supplementary report are consistent with what they expect, or otherwise to advise the CMI that this is not the case. Data should be resubmitted if the latter is true.

For the aggregate analyses, a scheme is removed if the number of the records that are rejected exceeds a predetermined threshold or if the data supplier advises the CMI that the data is inaccurate.

What results are produced from the investigation?

Two types of results are produced.

  • Individual scheme results comparing actual deaths with the deaths expected according to certain base tables are reported to the consultancy who supplied the data. Comparisons for males and females, by lives and amounts, and for different pensioner types are produced.
  • Aggregate results, analysing data for multiple schemes, are also produced based on scheme data submitted by 30 June each year. Additional analyses such as mortality trends and mortality by industry class are also planned. Aggregate results are normally published initially in draft form to members of the SAPS mortality investigation and in final form within working papers six months later.

Results show Actual experience versus Expected. How is Expected calculated?

The expected experience is calculated by applying the central exposure at each age with a base table of mortality. There are two bases currently used for these comparisons. The first basis is a table from the S1 series of mortality tables where the actual table depends on the pensioner type. The second basis is the 00 series normal retirement, based on the 1999-2002 investigation of insured lives.

Where can I find results?

Aggregate scheme results have been published in a series of working papers to date, with the most recent being Working paper 31. Please click here to access these papers. Additionally, documentation of the investigation's methodology and assumptions can be found in Working paper 34.

Has the SAPS investigation produced any mortality tables?

The SAPS experience for the period 2000-2006 has been graduated to produce the S1 series of mortality tables, the first mortality tables to be based on UK pension scheme data. These were published in October 2008 and have been formally adopted by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The S1 tables along with all graduations methodology can be found in Working paper 35.

Contact Details

If you have any questions about the CMI please email

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Events calendar

  • IFAM event - Actuarial Teachers’ & Researchers’ Conference 2019

    Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics Department of Mathematical  Sciences The University of Liverpool Mathematical Sciences Building Peach Street Liverpool, L69 7ZL
    27 June 2019 - 29 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (IFAM) at the University of Liverpool is pleased to host the 2019 Actuarial Teachers’ and Researchers’ Conference from 27-28 June 2019. This annual two-day event has been running annually now for many years, each time hosted by a different university, and provides all those interested in actuarial research and education a great opportunity to share their ideas and catch up on the latest developments.

  • IFoA/ASM Joint Professional Skills Training – Kuala Lumpur

    Menara AIA, Auditorium, 99 Jalan Ampang, 50450, Kuala Lumpur
    28 June 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and Actuarial Society of Malaysia (ASM) are organising a joint Professional Skills Training (PST) in Kuala Lumpur. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Life, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • Spaces available

    The actuarial profession has much to offer the world of banking. In this webinar actuaries with experience in various fields of banking will talk about the opportunities there are in banking; describing the actuarial aspects of the work they do as well as other roles within their area of banking.

  • Implications of 2019 IFRS 17 Exposure Draft

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    24 July 2019

    Towards the end of June, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is expected to publish an Exposure Draft (ED) of limited changes to its insurance contracts standard IFRS 17, effective date 2022. To help IFoA members, the IFoA’s cross-practice Financial Reporting Group (FRG) is hosting an event at Staple Inn covering these developments. 

    For more information on the FRG please visit this webpage

  • KSS event – The Regulatory Perspective

    Deloitte Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    5 September 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk, presented by the FCA Head of Department in Scotland, will focus on the following 3 main areas:

    • FCA business plan priorities
    • The future of regulation
    • FCA Engagement in Scotland
  • Sessional Research Event - Risk Margin Working Party

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London, WC1V 7QJ
    9 September 2019

    Spaces available

    For life insurers in the UK, the risk margin is one of the most controversial aspects of the Solvency II regime. Following its implementation, the risk margin came under considerable criticism for being too large and too sensitive to interest rate movements. These criticisms are particularly valid for annuity business – such business is of great significance to the national system for retirement provision. This criticism has led to political interest, and the risk margin was a major element of the Treasury Committee inquiry into Solvency II.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year. 


  • Life Conference 2019

    The Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
    20-22 November 2019
    Spaces available

    The Life Conference is the premier event for professionals interested in life insurance.  Offering a wide range of workshops and plenary sessions it’s the perfect opportunity to discover what’s hot and current in life insurance ensuring you get up to date on the latest thinking and innovation whilst meeting and exchanging ideas with a broad range of professionals.

  • Autumn Lecture 2019, London - Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    2 December 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA is pleased to announce that this year’s Autumn Lecture will feature the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP as its guest speaker.  Nicky has previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women. She now chairs the Treasury Select Committee whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, along with all of its agencies and associated bodies.