Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making

Winning team identified to lead Investigating Institutional Investors Decision-Making research project

After a rigorous selection process, we’re delighted to announce that the IFoA’s Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) has awarded a grant to support a significant behavioural finance research programme; specifically focusing on decision-making by institutional investors.

The selected research team is comprised of researchers from City, University of London, Ipsos, Leeds University Business School, University of East London and Reverence Limited. The team itself includes Professor Peter Ayton, Dr Iain Clacher, Dr Volker Thoma, Colin Strong and David Calfo, who bring expertise from a range of disciplines.

Project summary

The aim of this research project is to explore the decision-making of institutional investors, in particular insurers and pension schemes, and the biases that may affect their investment decisions. This may include, but not be limited to, emotional, psychological and political biases. It is expected that the project will first explore what "rational" or “optimal” behaviour could be expected from an institution in certain economic scenarios, based on its investment objectives and underlying values.

 It will then explore whether there is solid evidence that “behavioural” factors, such as human psychology, company culture, corporate politics and conflicts of interest, cause them to deviate from optimal behaviour. The research will then make practical conclusions that could be used by actuaries working in investment and related areas. For example, one possible output of the research could be a suggested governance structure an organisation could put in place to manage these biases and conflicts.

Recent events

ARC Webinar Series: Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making

Thursday 04 October 2018

Following the successful launch of last year’s webinar series, the Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) has produced a further series of webinars in 2018 to showcase its largest cutting-edge research programmes, addressing some of the significant challenges in actuarial science.

In this webinar we hear from the Principal Investigator of this research programme, Professor Peter Ayton (City, University of London) and co-researcher Dr. Iain Clacher (University of Leeds). By watching this webinar you will learn about the objectives of this research programme and some of the early developments since its commencement in January 2018.

A recording of the webinar is available on YouTube and is also posted on the IFoA's online learning webpages

This webinar is sponsored by Aon and Invesco.

AONInvesco

Background to the project

To date, a substantial volume of work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.  This could be significant for actuaries working in the areas of investment advice, asset-liability matching, liability-driven investments and investment risk management, within institutional investors, such as insurance companies and defined benefit pension schemes.A significant number of actuaries work today as advisors to institutional investors’ key decision-making bodies.  Typical roles could include:

  • Investment advisors to occupational pension schemes
  • Professionals setting the investment strategy for assets of insurance companies
  • Investment strategists for assets backing long-term life insurance liabilities, such as with-profit or annuity funds

Investment objectives and asset allocation decisions for the types of organisations mentioned above would typically be expected to be driven by the long term relationship between the value of assets and the actuarial or accounting value of liabilities. In setting a long term investment strategy, investment actuaries are often required to form judgements and make assumptions (explicit or implicit) based on commonly accepted economic theories.  This usually relies on the expectation of rational behaviour, in line with stated public objectives of these organisations and efficient market hypothesis in various forms.

The objective of this research is to test whether the actual decisions made by organisations, as groups of individuals, are influenced by a wider set of factors, such as emotions, human psychology, company culture, corporate politics and conflicts of interest.  This could provide a better tool kit for actuaries and other professionals in managing risks and making financial projections for these organisations.

Expected outputs

The expected output of this research is to explicitly draw out some of the key assumptions made about how institutions should behave rationally in certain scenarios and then test their validity.  Practical recommendations will then be produced which actuarial investment practitioners could use in their work.

Early research outputs

The research team have now produced a literature review which aims to better understand the relatively unexplored field of investment decisions made by pension fund trustees and identify future avenues of further exploration. This paper starts by setting out the landscape in which pension fund trustees operate and make their decisions, followed by a literature review of the behavioural finance research applicable to similar situations. The team also gave a presentation at the IFoA's Investment Strategy for DB and DC Pension Funds seminar in Sept 2018, where they presented some of the early findings of this work.

 

Contact Details

If you want more information about our research programmes please contact the IFoA Actuarial Research Centre:

arc@actuaries.org.uk

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Events calendar

  • TIGI 2019 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE
    25-26 April 2019
    Spaces available

    This General Insurance CPD offering has been changed from former years of individual one day seminars to include individual sessions for IFRS 17, Pricing, Capital Modelling and Reserving over a two-day event  packaged as Technical Issues in General Insurance, providing attendees with a varied program . The event is suitable for anyone who works, or are interested, in these areas.

  • Fully booked.

    Data Visualisation helps to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.  This talk will showcase some visualisations that the working party has found useful for common actuarial situations.  The event is now full, however if you would like to join a waiting list, please email Barry_shannon@standardlife.com

  • Francophone Actuaries Meeting 2019

    Aviva, Saint Helen's, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ, UK
    2 May 2019

    Spaces available

    L'Institut des Actuaires and French actuaries in the UK, partnered with Aviva, are delighted to be hosting their annual "l'afterwork" event for French speaking actuaries in the UK. The event will mix French and English interventions.

    Register via this link to be added to the guest list:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rencontre-annuelle-des-actuaires-francophones-londres-tickets-59758941603

     

     

  • Spaces available

    CPD

    CPD
    1.00 hours

    The CMI SAPS Mortality Committee and Mortality Projections Committee will be holding a joint webinar, aimed primarily at pension scheme trustees, describing considerations relating to setting longevity assumptions in 2019.

  • SIAS EVENT - Hurricane Clustering: A New Reality?

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most active on record. We saw multiple hurricanes coming close together causing significant damage and human loss. The talk discusses whether 2017 was an exceptional year or indicative of what we expect to see in the near future, and the implications for (re)insurers.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu
    09-10 May 2019
    Spaces available

    IfoA Logo for eventsOffering a diverse selection of plenary sessions and cross-practice workshops, the annual Asia Conference is the perfect opportunity to discover and discuss current and developing actuarial topics in Asia, whilst providing excellent opportunity to grow your network of contacts.

  • DAG event - Can we overcome unconscious bias?

    KPMG LLP  Saltire Court,  20 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    9 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This session will examine our biases, look at what it feels like to be an outsider and give attendees practical tools and actions we can all take to support and grow diversity and inclusion, within the profession. This session is also designed to meet the objectives of the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training for experienced members.

  • KSS event – IQ+EQ = Future Success

    Royal London, 1 Thistle Street, Edinburgh
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    In this interactive session, our facilitators, Russell Borland and Thomas Chalmers, Partners of UK-based coaching consulting firm, Leading Figures, will explore how we can enhance our EQ to make the most of our IQ. They will introduce an Emotional Intelligence framework developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman and provide participants with an opportunity to personally assess their own Emotional Intelligence.  To register please email Caitlin.stronach@royallondon.com

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. It is aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries. It will also be of interest to all those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
    15 May 2019

    Fully booked.

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond.  The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. Please note this event is now full, however, if you wish to join a waiting list, please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 1RW
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond. The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. To book a place please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com

  • How to protect SMEs from Cyber Attacks

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ.  
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The aim of this interdisciplinary symposium is to gain understanding and awareness of UK private SMEs about their insurance need as a part of cyber risk management and mitigation strategies.

  • Risk and Investment Conference 2019

    Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
    20-21 May 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's event begins with a Professional Skills Training plenary to help build your CPD, followed by a formal drinks reception and dinner on the evening of 20 May.  The following day will then be a programme full of topical plenaries and workshops covering the latest trends and topical issues in the risk and investment sector with plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues and build your CPD.

  • LMS Invited Lectures 2019

    ICMS, The Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT
    20 May 2019 - 24 May 2019

    Spaces available

    On May 20-24 2019, Prof Søren Asmussen (Aarhus University) will deliver a course on lectures on advanced topics in life insurance mathematics.  This will be held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh, and will be accompanied by supporting lectures from Prof Corina Constantinescu (University of Liverpool) and Prof Andrew Cairns (Heriot-Watt University). To register, please visit https://www.icms.org.uk/LMSAsmussen.php.

  • Mortality and Longevity Symposium 2019

    ICC Birmingham, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-05 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Mortality and Longevity Symposium aims to expand delegates’ horizons by giving a better view of the scope of current mortality research in a wide variety of relevant disciplines, and by providing a forum to discuss the implications for actuarial practice and it will be of interest to all actuaries concerned with setting or reviewing mortality and longevity assumptions, underwriters, demographers, epidemiologists, policy-

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2019

    ICC Birmingham  Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-06 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Protection, Health and Care Conference is an annual conference aimed at all insurance professionals with a passion for harnessing insurance risk in their organisations. The conference uses a combination of workshops by individuals who work at the coalface and ‘big name’ experts to explore how innovation, technological/medical advances, the political landscape and other market development will impact the Protection, Health and Care markets.

  • NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Substantial work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    Covering current topics and industry trends, the conference also includes a pre-conference evening dinner (18 June) giving you the opportunity to develop your network. 

  • KSS event – FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    EY, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

    To book your place, please email Barry_Shannon@standardlife.com 

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry. 

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • 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.

  • 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.