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. A copy of the webinar presentation is available to download here.

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

  • IFRS17 Workshop, 21 February

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    21 February 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA Logo for EventsThe Life Board and Life Lifelong Learning Sub-committee are running this half-day workshop on IFRS 17.

    They will provide a detailed understanding of the key concepts of the standard, as well as discuss how implementation will impact people, process and systems.  They will also share views on how the new standard will change the way insurers are viewed in the market, and share perspectives from within and outside of the profession.

     

  • Data Science: Opportunities for Actuaries

    The IFoA's first virtual event   
    26 February 2019 - 28 February 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA are launching their first virtual conference on the topic of Data Science, that is free to attend. This is an exciting and forward thinking move to reach members all over the world and to share knowledge and discuss developments and techniques within data science.

  • Leicester Actuarial Science Society presents the 5th Annual Worshipful Company of Actuaries Lecture

    The University of Leicester, Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 3 (see map and directions)
    27 February 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA President-Elect, John Taylor will discuss his work on 'robo advice' and the implications of technology for the future of the profession, but also his thoughts about the immediate priorities for the actuarial profession based on his first year with the Presidential Team. 

    The Worshipful Company of Actuaries will also be explaining their work and presenting two prizes: one each to the best performing 2nd year and 3rd year BSc Mathematics and Actuarial Science student at the University during the session.

  • ARC: ERM Results Launch Event

    Staple inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    28 February 2019

    Fully booked.

     

    This event is now full. We do operate a waiting system for this event should there become availability, which you can register for here and be added to the waitlist. We will email everyone on the waiting list nearer the time to confirm whether there is availability for them to attend.

     

  • Actuaries Rock event – What happened at GIRO?

    Gibraltar Financial Services Commission P O Box 940 Suite 3, Ground Floor Atlantic Suites Europort Avenue GX11 - 1AA Gibraltar
    28 February 2019

    Spaces available

    This event is run by Actuaries Rock, the regional society for actuaries in Gibraltar. To register please email:  kmorgan@gfsc.gi 

  • SIAS Event: Challenges and Opportunities for Actuaries Working in Data Science

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    4 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This talk will present examples of the use of data science in the General Insurance and Health and Care practice areas. It will highlight some of the opportunities and challenges for actuaries in using the latest data science techniques in these fields.

    1. Lisa Balboa will present on using predictive analytics to improve health care forecasting.
    2. Alexander Hanks will present a practical example of training a neural network to fit curves to general insurance claims data.
  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - London

    Ect Venues, 200 Aldersgate, St. Pauls, London EC1A 4HD
    5 March 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA event AllThis event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee has reviewed session feedback and has put together a high-quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • Life and F&I One Day Workshop

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    11 March 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA Event Logo AllThis cross-practice event for Life actuaries and those in finance and investments roles offers high-quality CPD with a series of thought-provoking presentations covering economics and financial markets, responsible investment, CMA review outcome, FCA requirements, asset analytics, and much more.

  • Spring Lecture 2019, Edinburgh - Sir John Curtice

    Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

    In conjunction with the Scottish BoardEdinburgh is now full. However, you can still register here to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
    We do operate a waiting system for each of the Edinburgh and London venues should there be availability, which you can register for here and be added to the waitlist. We will email everyone on the waiting list nearer the time to confirm whether there is availability for them to attend.
  • Spring Lecture 2019, Live stream at Staple Inn - Professor Sir John Curtice

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

     
    In conjunction with the Scottish BoardFollowing the popularity of this year’s Spring Lecture, delivered by Professor Sir John Curtice, an additional venue has been sourced for Members to attend a London Livestream event at the Lloyd's building. Please register here. Alternatively, you can still register here  to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
     
  • Sessional Meeting: Investment risk for long term investors - risk measurement approaches

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

    Spaces available

    The term ‘investment risk’ is often used loosely, and frequently confused with the notion of short term price volatility, particularly for equity instruments. For the long term investor, however, what is most apposite is the ability to meet future real cash flows as they become due.

  • KSS event – Index Based Longevity Hedging

    Royal London St Andrew House, 1 Thistle St, Edinburgh EH2 1DG
    18 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk on Index Based Longevity Hedging  -  The Dutch Experience and implications for the UK market will cover the structure of deals to date in the Dutch market; the challenges in determining the Solvency 2 capital treatment for such deals and the work done by the Longevity Risk Transfer Working Party of the Dutch Insurance Association; a proposal for a method for quantification of Basis Risk based on a recent paper “Basis Risk in Index Based Longevity Hedges: A Guide for Longevity Hedgers” by Cairns & El Boukfaoui, and implications for the future, both in terms

  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - Edinburgh

    Apex Grassmarket Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS
    19 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee has reviewed session feedback and has put together a high-quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • KSS event - FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    Barnett Waddingham 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    20 March 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.

  • IFoA’s Diversity Advisory Group: The Power of Deep Listening

    Aviva, The Agora, Level 2B, St Helens, 1 Undershaft,  London EC3P 3DQ
    21 March 2019

    Spaces available

    8th March is International Women’s Day. The IFoA’s Diversity Advisory Group will be facilitating a session later in March as part of this celebration. Subject to availability. All members are welcomed. Please contact Susan Hunter Jones (susan.hunterjones@aviva.com) to register for the session.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (26 March 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    26 March 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This 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 (16 April 19)

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

    Fully booked.

    Please register here to join the wait list

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This 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.

  • 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.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (30 April 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    30 April 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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 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

  • Risk and Investment one day Conference 2019

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

    This year's Risk and Investment Conference will be taking place at Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London.

    To book your place click here.

     

  • Sessional Research Event - Saving for Retirement: Rules of Thumb

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

    Spaces available

    How much does the average person need to save over a full working life to provide a decent retirement income? We call this the Lifetime Pension Contribution (LPC) and have attempted to quantify it.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (12 June 19)

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

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This 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.

  • 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

    This year's Pensions Conference will be taking place at the Bristol Marriott City Centre.

  • 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. 

  • Professional Skills Training - London (25 June 19)

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

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019. This 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.