Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making

Investigating Institutional Investors Decision-Making

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.

Would you like to take part in this research study to understand how money is invested in mutual funds?

The IFoA’s Actuarial Research Centre is looking for actuaries working in investment advice, asset-liability matching, liability-driven investments and investment risk management, within institutional investors, such as insurance companies and defined benefit pension schemes to complete a short 15-minute task.

Take part now

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.

Upcoming events

Behavioural Finance Research Launch

POSTPONED (new date to be confirmed), London

Recent events

NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

18 June 2019

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. The IFoA has commissioned research through its Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) into how institutional investors make investment decisions which is due to be completed this year. These results could be significant for investment committees of insurance companies and pension schemes. A recording from this event is available here. 

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

4 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 was 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.

Research 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. 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.

Presentations to date

  • Professor Peter Ayton gave a presentation at the Australasian Actuarial Education and Research Symposium, Nov 2019 
  • Dr Leo Cohen gave a keynote speech at the Professional Pensions Conference, Nov 2019
  • The research team gave a presentation at the IFoA's Investment Strategy for DB and DC Pension Funds seminar, Sept 2019
  • Dr Iain Clacher gave a presentation at a PLSA meeting showcasing some of the early findings of this work, June 2019
  • Presentation to the Competition and Markets Authority, May 2019
  • Invited talk at the FCA seminar series, Jan 2019

 

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

  • SIAS Event: CMI Update

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    1 April 2020

    Spaces available

    We are sorry. This event has now been cancelled.

    Following the release of the updated CMI Mortality Projection Model, CMI_2019, the CMI Mortality Projections Committee will lead a discussion on future mortality improvements.

  • Spaces available

    In the webinar, Stuart Hitchcock, Head of Portfolio Management for Private Credit, within LGIM Real Assets, will provide some insight into the nature of the private credit markets. Discussion will evolve around development of the markets and lending landscape, key investment characteristics including structural and legal protections, public vs private investments, advantages and drawbacks for borrowers, and attractiveness for investors.

    The webinar will also focus on describing the investment process such as origination through execution, credit, structure, pricing, on-going asset management, portfolio construction within private markets.

  • Spaces available

    Due to the COVID-19, we will be running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 22 April.  

    CIGI is a well-established one-day seminar designed to increase awareness and encourage discussion on a variety of topical issues across the general insurance industry. 

  • Spaces available

    InsurTech headlines are often big statements, which seem impossible to many working in the sector day-to-day. How can actuaries implement new systems, keep the value from legacy systems, deliver BAU and not require the resources of three teams?

    This talk:

    • Highlights effective strategies to jump the gap to new technologies
    • Illustrates practices that provide contingency for future technical growth 
    • Introduces the concept of “technical debt” and how you can best manage it
  • Spaces available

    Pressure on organisations to address climate change risks is intensifying. But what does this really mean for insurers? In this session Adhiraj Maitra and Gareth Sutcliffe will look at the why, the what and the how of this risk through a number of different lenses including regulatory, principle and resilience.

  • Spaces available

    Update on renewal pricing outcomes for Property and Casualty markets at the latest 1/1 reinsurance renewals.

    The focus will be on capacity availability and price drivers.  These issues include but are not limited to the cat bond market, wider trends in claims outcomes, trends in Casualty RI space that affect pricing such as social inflation, yield curve and the reserving cycle.

    Finally, a note on how this may affect actuarial pricing, reserving and capital.

    Learning objectives: Business knowledge of reinsurance renewal outcomes and the main drivers

  • Spaces available

    The Ogden Discount Rate shock of 2017 brought about a period of profound uncertainty to General Insurance market.  GI Actuaries' first task was to estimate the impact of the Ogden shocks, particularly to reserving and reinsurance pricing.  Their second was to navigate a period of framework uncertainty, maintaining an agility in actuarial modelling as the Civil Liability Bill took shape. 

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (29 April 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    29 April 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (29 April 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    29 April 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • CANCELLED The Global Actuarial Profession

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    30 April 2020

    Spaces available

    We are sorry that this event has been cancelled.

    The IFoA's policy regarding COVID-19 is designed to safeguard the well-being of members and employees. As stated within the policy, the IFoA is reviewing its events programme on a case-by-case basis.

  • Spaces available

    Working party have been producing a number of deep dive papers, these include topics such as risk adjustment, impact of disclosures on how uncertainty is perceived, deferring acquisition costs over renewals, PAA eligibility and more. 

    We will select where to focus the session based on market focus closer to the time. The plan is to do a detailed session with practical examples and considerations rather than a high level educational session. Very happy to discuss further. 

  • SIAS Event: Cyber Insurance

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    4 May 2020

    Spaces available

    The talk will cover:
    • Why cyber security is regarded as the top threat to businesses (Allianz Risk Barometer 2019)
    • What is causing the shift in threat landscape
    • Who is attacking, why, and how we can stop them
    • Customer impressions of cyber security and how you can help them
    • Threats to evaluating insurable losses and responding to claims
    • How cyber insurance policies have evolved, and need to continue to do so
    • Can and should you recover ransoms under cyber insurance?
    • What is the future for cyber risk?

  • KSS event: Technology: A red-eyed Terminator or an actuary’s best friend?

     Hymans Robertson, Exchange Place 1, 1 Semple Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8BL
    4 May 2020

    Spaces available

    Despite long-running concerns that innovation could lead to widespread redundancy, technology has enabled greater productivity, created higher-value jobs and spurred us on to new heights. With artificial intelligence increasingly automating work undertaken by professionals, I look at the prospects for the actuarial profession in the era of unprecedented technological innovation.

  • Finance and Investment Conference 2020

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Pl, London NW1 4LE
    05-05 May 2020
    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19, we are running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 5 May.

    The environmental, social and governance (ESG) space is growing rapidly and increasingly moving centre stage. In many cases, it is now an essential part of policy and central to the way stakeholders make decisions for the long term to ensure retention of clients, manage risk better, and ensure more economically efficient and sustainable investment returns.

    ESG factors cover a wide range of areas reflecting how vital consideration of these factors are part of wider systemic risks.

    The IFoA’s policy regarding Coronavirus is designed to safeguard the well being of those who attend IFoA events. Find out more. 

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (19 May 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    19 May 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (19 May 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    19 May 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • CILA 2020

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Pl, London NW1 4LE
    20 May 2020

    Spaces available

    CILA 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. The programme this year features a timely mix of hot topics including sessions on:

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020

    The Grand Brighton, 97-99 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2FW
    02-03 June 2020
    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.

  • Spaces available

    How we relate to others at work, whether they are colleagues, clients, prospective clients or other business contacts is key to individual career progression and business performance. People buy people , so considering what we are known for and how to be positively memorable are vital. This session looks at the importance of professional relationships, the psychology of personal image and impact and the three personal impact 'tools' which affect what people say about us when we're not in the room.

  • Mortality and Longevity 2020

    1 Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ
    08-08 June 2020
    Spaces available

    This highly regarded seminar will provide topical and practical updates and discussion on the latest thinking and innovations in mortality and longevity.  The program is designed for life, pensions and health and care actuaries, academics, researchers, underwriters and related practitioners eager to learn about the latest developments in mortality and longevity.  The sessions are designed to be very accessible to a broad range of exp

  • Professional Skills Training - London (10 June 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ       
    10 June 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (17 June 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    17 June 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (18 June 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ   
    18 June 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Pensions Conference 2020

    Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel, Blackfriars Street, Manchester,M3 2EQ
    18-19 June 2020
    Spaces available

    Join us as this year’s conference that will focus on topics including  funding and savings, pension law current issues, ESG, the end game and transferring risk, investment issues, data visualisation and data science.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2020, Kuala Lumpur

    CCEC Nexus, 7, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    24-25 June 2020
    Spaces available

    This event has been postponed. A new date will be announced.

    The IFoA's policy regarding COVID-19 is designed to safeguard the well-being of members and employees. As stated within the policy, the IFoA is reviewing its events programme on a case-by-case basis.

    To this end the IFoA and their strategic partner, the AIR, have taken the decision to postpone this year's Asia Conference. A new date will be announced pending further reviews over the following months.