This research consortium is made up of academics and industry experts from across the globe

Research Team Biographies

Professor Jens Perch Nielsen

Professor Jens Perch Nielsen, joint principal investigator for this programme and Professor of Actuarial Science at Cass Business School, London, with a PhD in statistics from UC-Berkeley. He is a fully qualified actuary from Copenhagen, an associate member of the IFoA and has twenty years of experience in the insurance and pension industry. The invention of Time Pension, when he was research director in the global insurer RSA, was a game breaker in the Danish market. He served six year as consultant and entrepreneur before joining Cass as a full professor in 2012. He is the co-author of more than 100 scientific papers in reviewed journals of actuarial science, economics, econometrics, operational research and statistics and also has co-authored a book on quantitative operational risk modelling. Professor Nielsen has co-written published academic papers with all academic members of the project. He will be the primary supervisor for the Cass Business School-located doctoral students and postdoctoral researcher. He will meet regularly with the industrial partner, Jens Lind (Danika Pension) to discuss the research results obtained to date and get their input and feedback.

Dr Catherine Donnelly

Dr Catherine Donnelly, joint principal investigator for this programme and Associate Professor, Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Heriot-Watt University. Dr Donnelly is a qualified actuary and has worked for four years in the pensions industry. She has a PhD in mathematical finance from the University of Waterloo, Canada. Her research interests lie in pensions, life insurance and stochastic control theory, and she has been published widely in these areas. She has published several papers with Professor Nielsen and Professor Guillen, and has a close working relationship with both of them. Dr Donnelly is the principal investigator at Heriot-Watt University. She will be the primary supervisor for the Heriot-Watt-located doctoral student and postdoctoral researchers.

Professor Montserrat Guillen Professor Montserrat Guillen, Director of the Riskcenter, the research group on Risk in Insurance and Finance, Institute of Applied Economics, University of Barcelona, Spain. Since April 2001, Professor Guillen has been Chair Professor of the Department of Econometrics at the University of Barcelona. Her research focuses on actuarial statistics, economics and quantitative risk management. She was President of the European Group of Risk and Insurance Economists, the Geneva Association, in 2011. She has served on industry boards as well as scientific groups, international programs and steering committees and she has also conducted R&D joint programmes with many companies. For example, she helped Professor Nielsen to invent Time Pension at the beginning of this millenium. Professor Guillen is expected to co-author at least ten of the fundamental papers of this programme. She is a popular invited conference speaker and will be a key player in the programme, when distributing our academic knowledge.
Dr Ana M.Perez Dr Ana M. Perez, Associate Professor of Actuarial Statistics at the University of Barcelona and a member of the research group Riskcenter. Her research interests are related to actuarial statistics, survival analysis and marketing in insurance. Dr Perez-Marin will take the computational lead of at least six papers of this project. She will provide one-to-one computational teaching to many of the doctoral students involved in the project.
Professor Stefan Sperlich Professor Stefan Sperlich, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He has published over 60 papers since 1994, in addition to six books. His research is on the analysis of econometric models,empirical economics, non- and semi-parametric methods and computational statistics. He has led many research projects, as well as several consulting projects for the Spanish government. Professor Sperlich will work with Dr Scholz on generating the outputs for Workstream 4. Professor Sperlich has the responsibility for producing the outputs.
Dr Michael Scholz Dr Michael Scholz, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Graz, Austria. His research interests are in economics and statistics, including semiparametric methods. Dr Scholz will work with Professor Sperlich on generating the outputs for Workstream 4. He will take the computational lead on these papers providing one-to-one teaching to the doctoral students involved.
Dr Munir Hiabu Dr Munir Hiabu, is a postdoctoral researcher on this research programme. Before joining the team, Munir studied Mathematics at Heidelberg University and obtained a PhD in Actuarial Science from Cass Business School.
Dr Thomas Bernhardt Dr Thomas Bernhardt, is a postdoctoral research on this research programme. Before joining the team he earned his PhD in mathematics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and moved to the UK from Berlin, Germany. He is passionate about mathematics and society, so joining a project to optimise future pension plans was a natural fit.
Dr Rami Chehab Dr Rami Chehab, is a postdoctoral researcher on this programme. Before joining the team, Dr Chehab received his PhD in Econometrics from the University of Exeter in 2017. He also holds an MSc Economics and Econometrics from the University of Exeter and a BE in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics and Economics from the American University of Beirut.  Dr Chehab's research interest include the development of robust econometric and statistical inference methods using bootstrap algorithms with financial time-series: heavy-tails and dependent time series. These characteristics of financial time-series are a well-observed phenomenon, especially in our contemporary world. His research interest also includes modelling long-run asset returns for assessing risk and return for long-term investors such as pension plan participants. 
Photo of Peter Vodicka Peter Vodicka, is a PhD student working on this programme. Before joining the team Peter graduated from Comenius University in Bratislava where he studied Applied Mathematics and Modelling, before studying for his masters at Charles University in Prague. He is interested in subjects such as stochastic calculus, survival analysis, counting processes, portfolio risk management and optimal control.

 

 

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Events calendar

  • Spaces available

    The purpose of this research paper is to explore enterprise risk management lessons which can be learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic in preparation for potential future pandemics as well as other “gray rhino” or “black swan” events. This paper is not intended to be an all-encompassing solution to the issues presented by Covid-19; rather, the content has been provided to help drive discussions regarding how risk management processes may need to evolve in line with the dynamic nature of the underlying risks that they sometimes need to capture.

  • Spaces available

    This session is for new candidates and existing candidates where we will be discussing the practical steps you need to take leading up your exam and on the day. We will be discussing how to testing the online exam platform, downloading and uploading your paper and key information from the Exam Handbook.

    The exam webinar is for candidates, new to IFoA exams and returning candidates, sitting in the September 2022 exam session.

  • Spaces available

    The role of Non-Executive Directors has become increasingly challenging and critical over the past few years.

    Big picture thinking, Governance knowledge, Independent mindset, Ambassador potential and Energy and commitment: these are the essential skills sought in a successful NED, according to the Chartered Governance Institute (UK & Ireland).

    In parallel, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria are increasingly key and used by investors to measure the sustainability and ethical impact of investing in an organisation.

  • Spaces available

    This webinar will cover:

    • Some background on the risks of misselling in an ESG context, including the DWS case

    • Achieving positive impact is a strong antidote to the risks of greenwashing or ESG misselling, however this risks having a tension with fiduciary responsibilities

    • This tension can be resolved with a concept called Universal Ownership

    • Under Universal ownership, investors have an appetite to make a loss in order to achieve positive impact, and yet still have no compromise on their fiduciary responsibilities

  • How do CDC pension schemes smooth members' pensions?

    Online webinar
    23 September 2022

    Spaces available

    In the UK, the idea of collective defined contribution (CDC) pension schemes is gaining more attention with the launch of the Royal Mail CDC scheme, the first of its kind in the UK. Our recent research on CDC plans investigates the sources of the putative benefits of CDC schemes: the smoothing of pensions for members.  Using an attribution analysis to burrow into the scheme design, the reason for the smoothing of members' pensions is explained and understood.

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA's Infrastructure Working Party, led by Chris Lewin, will present its new introductory guide to infrastructure investment, which will be published on the IFoA web-site prior to the webinar.   Those readers whose institutions have already taken the plunge into infrastructure will know that it is a highly complex and diverse field of activity.   This guide does not explore all the matters which investors take into account, but it does discuss many of the more important points, including the risks and past returns, benchmarking, and ESG and SDG considerations.    Attendees will be invi

  • Social Care Agenda

    Online webinar
    11 October 2022

    Spaces available

    Social care reform has long been on the to-do list for successive governments over the last two decades. In February, the government’s proposed reforms to adult social care [including cap on care costs] was published. Against this backdrop of funding promise and rising National Insurance taxation, in this session we will debate the resilience of these new proposals, the impact of future demand for care services and what role for the insurance industry and the important role it has played in long-term care funding in other countries where public-private partnership works.

  • Health – Our Greatest Asset

    Online webinar
    2 November 2022

    Spaces available

    Health contributes to happiness at the personal, family, community and societal level.  Health, importantly underpins all our economic security. This talk will explore the drivers of our health, the measurement of health and the steps we can take to improve health – most of which lie outside the NHS.

  • GIRO Conference 2022

    ACC Liverpool Kings Dock Liverpool Waterfront Liverpool Merseyside L3 4FP  
    21 November 2022 - 23 November 2022
    Spaces available

    We are delighted to announce the return of GIRO as an in-person conference, giving you an opportunity to connect with actuaries in your practice area. Join leading experts to discuss key issues, emerging ideas, and new research across the General Insurance sector.

  • Life Conference 2022

    ACC Liverpool Kings Dock Liverpool Waterfront Liverpool Merseyside L3 4FP
    23 November 2022 - 25 November 2022
    Spaces available

    Life Conference returns as an in-person conference in 2022, giving you an opportunity to connect with your peers and fellow actuaries in your sector, in person. You will also hear leading experts discuss key issues, emerging ideas, and new research across the Life insurance sector.

  • Spaces available

    Mortality and morbidity risk varies by variables such as age, sex and smoking. In traditional actuarial experience analysis, these variables, and certain combinations thereof can be explored. However, with the wealth of data now available it is becoming increasingly challenging to identify the key drivers of experience and account for the interaction between different variables. A univariate approach often compares apples and pears, for example males are more likely to smoke and have larger policies than females. Likewise, variable interactions are missed unless specifically included.