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Population Ageing, Implications for Asset Values, and Impact for Pension Plans: An International Study

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) co-sponsored an international research project, looking into the impact ageing populations have on asset values over long time periods and considering the potential impact on large pension plans in Canada, the UK and the United States. The research was conducted by the University of Waterloo (Canada) and the University of Kent (UK).

The Population Ageing, Implications for Asset Values, and Impact for Pension Plans: An International Study is primarily funded by the Canadian Funding Body SSHRC, with additional financial support from the IFoA, the Society of Actuaries in the USA, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the University of Waterloo and the University of Kent.

Latest news

New international research on the connection between population structure and bond yields

Wednesday 15 April 2020

The IFoA has published a new international research paper, released jointly with the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. This research looks at the implications for population ageing on different asset classes and illustrates that impact on the financial status of pension plans. Exploring the impact of population ageing on bond yields in various countries, this research finds that the ratio of the middle-aged to the young or old population is associated with either a reduction or an increase of bond yields at various points on the yield curve. Read the full report here. 

As part of this wider project, the IFoA is funding a PhD student (Aniketh Pittea), based at the University of Kent, who is specifically focusing on:

  • developing a generic economic capital model of a large pension plan which can suitably be adapted to represent pension schemes in the UK, US, Canada and other developing countries
  • implementing and integrating the demographic and asset valuation models, developed during the other phases of the research initiative, in the economic capital model of the pension plan
  • analysing the impact and sensitivity of demographic structure and asset valuation models on the financial risk management of pension plan
  • suggesting alternative risk-mitigating strategies that can be employed by pension plans to cope with the underlying risks.

The research project will break new ground by incorporating gender into an overlapping generations model to better understand the differences in retirement outcomes for males and females.  It is also set to include international capital flows in the analysis and will consider the impact on specific asset classes, such as equities, property and infrastructure.

The research findings will have important implications for pension funds, asset managers, and individuals. If asset prices are materially affected by an ageing population, then actuaries and risk managers need to incorporate this consideration into their work.

Latest events and publications

Joint CIA, IFoA, SOA Webcast: Measuring Pension Plan Risk from an Economic Capital Perspective

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Jointly sponsored by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Society of Actuaries, and CIA, this webcast presented research that compares the risk profiles of pension plans in the UK, the US, and Canada. By the end of this session, attendees were able to:

Identify the key items that affect the financial risk of a defined benefit pension plan;
Compare the financial risk implications of different pension plan designs; and
Evaluate the impact of alternative asset mix policies on the financial risk of a pension plan.

Speakers: Stephen Bonnar (FCIA), University of Waterloo, Aniketh Pittea and Pradip Tapadar, School of Mathematics, Statistics & Actuarial Science, University of Kent

About the webcast: Economic capital, the 0.5th percentile result of a stochastic projection, is the primary risk measure employed. The research examines not only the difference in economic capital requirements between typical plans in the three countries, but also its sensitivity to changes in asset allocation, contributions, and starting funded status. The recording is now available to members in the VLE. If you have any questions regarding this webcast please email us.

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The IFoA, CIA and SOA launch innovative international pensions risk report

Wednesday 13 November 2019

In November, we were proud to announce the launch of a pensions-focused research report from the University of Kent and the University of Waterloo, in Canada. This research has been supported by an international partnership of funders, including the IFoA, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries in the US. In this essential new research report, ‘A Tale of Two Pensions Plans’, the research team explore the potential challenges faced by Defined Benefit pension scheme sponsors and trustees in ensuring security of benefits for pension scheme members and the associated uncertainty.

Download the report

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2018 International Congress of Actuaries, Berlin

We are delighted to announce that this research team were selected for a Best Paper Award at the 2018 International Congress of Actuaries in Berlin. Countries with an ageing population are concerned that the expected drop in saving and investment will result in substantially diminished asset prices and compromised pension plans. This award-winning paper contributes to the quantification of the link between population structure and asset values, by modelling returns on assets in the presence of demographic change.

photo of best paper award at ICA

From left to right Lori Curtis, Kate Rybczynski, Steve Bonnar (all University of Waterloo), Jaideep Oberoi (University of Kent), award presenter (Juergen Bierbaum). Other co-authors not present: Miguel Leon-Ledesma (University of Kent) and Mark Zhou (CMHC). It was the ICA 2018 Best Paper Award - Demographic Change and Longevity and the presenter stated that one aspect of the paper which the committee liked was the way it combined economic models with actuarial science.

 

Commissioned by: The IFoA, Society of Actuaries, Canadian Institute of Actuaries, SSHRC, University of Waterloo and the University of Kent
Conducted by: The University of Waterloo and the University of Kent
Period of research: 2016 – 2019
Outputs:

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Contact Details

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect of research carried out through the Actuarial Research Centre (ARC), please contact the Research and Knowledge Team.

arc@actuaries.org.uk

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Events calendar

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  • Mortality and Longevity Webinar Series 2020

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    With the rising prevalence of dementia, how can we manage this risk effectively and can insurance do more? Matt Singleton, Ageing Lead at Swiss Re, will cover these topics and demonstrate how insurance could help people address their concerns.

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    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Using new and unique research and data from the UK, US, Sweden and China, this presentation investigates how consumers use the internet through their insurance journey and analyzes the role culture and generation plays in their online behaviour. We use this research to show the online landscape for insurance sales in the UK and suggest ways to shape new products and effectively engage with the consumer who is buying them.

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    The working party will help the industry to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes and excess mortality is considered, including the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes.

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    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Modelling the structure and trends of cancer morbidity risk is important for pricing and reserving in related health insurance fields such as critical illness insurance and care provision. We model the dynamics of cancer incidence over time in different regions in England, using 1981-2016 ONS data. The modelling allows estimation of cancer rates at various age, year, gender and region levels, following a Bayesian setting to account for statistical uncertainty. Our analysis indicates significant regional variation in cancer incidence rates. 

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    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. In this talk we will outline the steps Aviva took in pulling together our first large-scale disclosures on the exposure of our business to climate change published in March 2019; in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. After touching on why insurers have such an important role in climate change, we'll cover a brief “how-to” guide for those who have not yet embarked on thinking about these topics before giving a case study of how the learnings from a TCFD disclosure exercise can be applied to investment portfolios.

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    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. 

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