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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

  • IFoA & PRI Webinar: TCFD – leaders and challenges

    Online webinar
    2 September 2019

    Spaces available

    In collaboration with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the Principles of Responsible Investment is delighted to host this webinar discussing the response to the TCFD’s recommendations two years on from their publication. The webinar will feature new analysis of the 591 investors representing $45 trillion who responded to PRI’s 2019 climate indicators, insights from the past Chair of the IFoA’s Resource and Environment Board as well as an investor case study of implementation in practice from Aviva. 

  • SIAS Event: Climate Zero to Climate Hero

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

    Spaces available

    An introductory session to help you get ahead with climate change.

    • Science, terminology and initiatives: handy facts to keep in your back pocket 
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    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
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  • Professional Skills Training session (Jointly held with China Life)

    China Life Insurance, Beijing •  China Life Shanghai Office • China Life Shenzhen Office  
    6 September 2019

    Spaces available

    Friday, 6 September, Beijing Local Time (CST) 14.00-16.30; British Summer Time (BST) 07.00-9.30

    The IFoA Beijing Office and China Life are pleased to be co-hosting a Professional Skills Training (PST) session in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen on Friday, 6 September. Wen Li (FIA), the IFoA Lead Representative in China and East Asia, will lead the PST presentation and discussion on ‘Getting it right!’.

    The main venue will be in Beijing. Members in Shanghai and Shenzhen can join the interaction with Beijing via video conference at China Life’s regional venues. (see full details below)

  • 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. 


  • Chief Actuaries and Senior Life Actuaries Workshop 2019

    Staple Inn Hall High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    2 October 2019

    Spaces available

    This workshop, now in its sixth year, is aimed at senior actuaries working in life insurance - predominantly Chief Actuaries, but also Reviewing Actuaries and others working in risk and financial reporting. It will provide seven hours of relevant CPD.

  • The Future of the Actuarial Profession

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    3 October 2019

    Fully booked.


    Three actuaries – and CEOs – discuss their views on how the business world is changing and what that might mean for actuaries in the future.

  • Spaces available

    Have you ever thought about working in wider fields? Would you like to play a role in the fight against climate change to make the planet better? 

    It can be difficult to do this - but seeing an example you can follow can make it more realistic. In this ‘green’ case study a template is outlined to show how actuaries can apply their skills more broadly - and in doing so, to make a difference.

  • RSS/IFoA Data Science Ethics: the role of practitioners

    Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol St, London EC1Y 8LX
    7 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Royal Statistical Society have worked together to develop joint ethics guidance on data science. This is the culmination of an 18 month programme of practitioner led work. 
    Join us for the launch of this new guidance, with a high-level panel discussion which will explore the role of data science practitioners and professional bodies in data ethics. 

  • Sessional Meeting - Autonomous Vehicles and impacts on the wider insurance industry

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    28 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries is running a sessional meeting on autonomous vehicles on 28th October.  The session will showcase the work of the IFoA “Autonomous Vehicles” working party alongside a number of expert external presenters. 

  • ARC Event: Beyond Proportional Hazards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    30 October 2019

    Spaces available

    ARC Event: Beyond Proportional Hazards: Statistical methods for assessment of the impact of medical advances and health interventions on longevity and population projections.

    This workshop is being delivered by the Actuarial Research Centre’s (ARC) ‘Big Health and Actuarial Data’ Research Programme.

  • Hot Topics in Health and Care: Networking and Drinks

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, London WC1V 6DR
    4 November 2019

    Spaces available

    This evening will feature two new cases studies that highlight the implications for insurers of issues impacting on health and mortality for life, pensions, and health and care products; Impactability modelling: a worked example in Type II diabetes presented by Josephine Robertson, and Seasonal Mortality in England and Wales 1993-2016 presented by Mary Hall, Dublin City University.

  • Autumn Pension Seminar

    Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen St, Holborn, London WC2B 5DA
    13 November 2019

    Spaces available

    Join us for this brand new seminar that brings together our Current Issues in Pensions, Pensions and the Law, and Investment for Pension Actuaries events. The seminar builds on the IFoA’s Annual Pension Conference with sessions covering CDC, TPR’s code of practice, investments, legal updates and Professional Skills Training with a focus on interactive discussion throughout.

    • KSS event: How is Scotland’s population changing and what are the implications?

      Barnett Waddingham, 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
      14 November 2019

      Spaces available

      The National Records of Scotland (NRS) collects, preserves and produces information about Scotland's people and history to inform current and future generations - work that underpins the fabric of Scottish society and tells the story of our nation. This KSS talk will explore the following and other areas impacting Scotland’s changing population, and assess the potential implications of the changes:

      • population statistics
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      • changes in age structure
      • birth and death rates, including causes of death statistics.
    • Life Conference 2019

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

      Fully booked.

      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.

    • Autumn Lecture 2019: Live Streaming

      2 December 2019

      Spaces available

      Watch the live stream of this year's Autumn Lecture with guest speaker Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP. 

    • Behavioural Finance Research Launch- 14 January 2020

      Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6DR
      14 January 2020

      Spaces available

      We are delighted to announce the launch of the findings from our ARC funded Behavioural Finance research with a special evening event at Staple Inn on Tuesday14th January 2020. Entitled Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making, this research programme is being delivered by City, University of London, Leeds University Business School and Ipsos.