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Optimising Future Pension Plans

This commissioned research programme seeks to develop pension product designs that keep the customers' needs at the forefront, to provide a real income in retirement, whilst minimising costs for the customer.

Programme objectives

  • share risks between customers
  • determine the trade-off between the performance and stability of pension income
  • study how to incorporate and manage illiquid assets that can be used to hedge inflation
  • establish a framework to analyse the trade-off between the performance and stability of pension income in the proposed products
  • determine dynamic econometric models that are suitable for our long-term products
  • and determine how the dynamic econometric models can be used to optimally time to buy and sell assets.

This multidisciplinary team is led by Professor Jens Perch Nielson (Cass Business School) and Dr Catherine Donnelly (Heriot-Watt University). The funding supports two PhD students in actuarial science.

Recent news and events

We are delighted to announce that the research team was recently awarded the Bob Alting von Geusau Prize for their paper 'Implementing Individual Savings Decisions for Retirement with Bounds on Wealth'. By Catherine Donnelly, Monserrat Guillen, Jens Perch Nielsen and Ana Maria Perez Marín.

In 2002, AFIR-ERM established The Bob Alting von Geusau Memorial Prize, in honour of its late and long-serving treasurer. The prize was awarded for the first time in 2003 in von Geusau’s home country at the 13th AFIR/ERM Colloquium in Maastricht (Netherlands).

All successful recipients of the Bob Alting von Geusau Prize are listed here.

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IFoA Life Conference 2018: Key insights in decumulation strategies

In the confusing environment of pension freedom, the research team took us through the existing knowledge of decumulation strategies, presenting leading ideas and identifying promising areas for future research within the project. View their presentation here. 

Thomas Bernhardt and Catherine Donnelly, Heriot-Watt University

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ARC Webinar Series: Minimising Longevity and Investment Risk while Optimising Future Pension Plans

Wednesday 03 October 2018

Following the successful launch of last year’s webinar series, the Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) 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.

The webinar is presented by one of the Principal Investigators of this research programme, Dr. Catherine Donnelly (Heriot-Watt). By watching this webinar you will learn about the objectives of this research programme and some of the early developments since its commencement in 2016.

A recording of the webinar is available on YouTube and is posted on the IFoA's online learning web pages.

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Half-day workshop: Decumulation and Investment Return-Sharing: What is the Latest Research?

Thursday 13 September

This workshop covered two topics:

- How to invest your savings during retirement.  Industry products are mostly restricted to either life annuity contracts or draw-down with a constant-mix investment strategy.  However, many alternative approaches have been explored in scientific papers.

- Investment return-sharing structures in a pension-saving setting.  There have been many structures examined in the academic literature.  Some of them are stylisations of country-typical participating policies but others are quite unique.   The structures and our understanding of them will be discussed.

The latest scientific research was covered for both topics, including new research for the ARC project.

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ARC Sessional Research Event: Self-selection and risk sharing in a modern world of life-long annuities

Monday 14 May, Staple Inn Hall, London

In this sessional, Professor Jens Perch Nielsen and his co-authors (from Cass Business School) discussed new solutions to three of the most current and challenging problems in pension research. The three challenges that were addressed are:

1) To make the pension product so easy to understand that the pensioner can self-select the financial risk and design the financial investment strategy within minutes;

2) To design automatic and easy to understand mortality risk-sharing between customers;

3) To create automatic and easy to understand investment guarantee risk-sharing between customers, so that they do not have to pay for their investment guarantee and such that the pension company does not need to issue one.

View the event recording 

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

  • IFoA & PRI Webinar: TCFD – leaders and challenges

    Online webinar
    2 September 2019

    Spaces available

    In collaboration with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the Principles of Responsible Investment is delighted to host this webinar discussing the response to the TCFD’s recommendations two years on from their publication. The webinar will feature new analysis of the 591 investors representing $45 trillion who responded to PRI’s 2019 climate indicators, insights from the past Chair of the IFoA’s Resource and Environment Board as well as an investor case study of implementation in practice from Aviva. 

  • SIAS Event: Climate Zero to Climate Hero

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    3 September 2019

    Spaces available

    An introductory session to help you get ahead with climate change.

    • Science, terminology and initiatives: handy facts to keep in your back pocket 
    • Getting your point across: how to influence people and avoid common traps and pitfalls
    • Taking action: what are actuaries expected to do...and what are we actually doing?
  • KSS event – The Regulatory Perspective

    Deloitte Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    5 September 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk, presented by the FCA Head of Department in Scotland, will focus on the following 3 main areas:

    • FCA business plan priorities
    • The future of regulation
    • FCA Engagement in Scotland
  • Professional Skills Training session (Jointly held with China Life)

    China Life Insurance, Beijing •  China Life Shanghai Office • China Life Shenzhen Office  
    6 September 2019

    Spaces available

    Friday, 6 September, Beijing Local Time (CST) 14.00-16.30; British Summer Time (BST) 07.00-9.30

    The IFoA Beijing Office and China Life are pleased to be co-hosting a Professional Skills Training (PST) session in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen on Friday, 6 September. Wen Li (FIA), the IFoA Lead Representative in China and East Asia, will lead the PST presentation and discussion on ‘Getting it right!’.

    The main venue will be in Beijing. Members in Shanghai and Shenzhen can join the interaction with Beijing via video conference at China Life’s regional venues. (see full details below)

  • Spaces available

    The actuarial profession has much to offer the world of banking. In this second webinar on opportunities for actuaries in banking we have two actuaries sharing their experience. They will talk about the opportunities there are in banking; describing the actuarial aspects of the work they do, the roles they see for actuaries and the skills actuaries can bring to the banking industry. They will share their experiences of how they got into banking as well as give their thoughts on how actuaries can enter the banking profession.

  • 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. 

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  • Chief Actuaries and Senior Life Actuaries Workshop 2019

    Staple Inn Hall High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    2 October 2019

    Spaces available

    This workshop, now in its sixth year, is aimed at senior actuaries working in life insurance - predominantly Chief Actuaries, but also Reviewing Actuaries and others working in risk and financial reporting. It will provide seven hours of relevant CPD.

  • The Future of the Actuarial Profession

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    3 October 2019

    Fully booked.

     

    Three actuaries – and CEOs – discuss their views on how the business world is changing and what that might mean for actuaries in the future.

  • Spaces available

    Have you ever thought about working in wider fields? Would you like to play a role in the fight against climate change to make the planet better? 

    It can be difficult to do this - but seeing an example you can follow can make it more realistic. In this ‘green’ case study a template is outlined to show how actuaries can apply their skills more broadly - and in doing so, to make a difference.

  • RSS/IFoA Data Science Ethics: the role of practitioners

    Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol St, London EC1Y 8LX
    7 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Royal Statistical Society have worked together to develop joint ethics guidance on data science. This is the culmination of an 18 month programme of practitioner led work. 
     
    Join us for the launch of this new guidance, with a high-level panel discussion which will explore the role of data science practitioners and professional bodies in data ethics. 

  • GAD – the 100 year life (Edinburgh)

    KPMG  Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    22 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) marks its centenary this year. George Russell, formerly Deputy Government Actuary, who currently heads up GAD’s Edinburgh office, leading on GAD support to the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, will outline GAD’s development over that period and its range of work today. Having just “celebrated” his 25th anniversary of joining GAD, George will also reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities of advising at the interface of the actuarial and the political worlds.

  • GAD – the 100 year life (Glasgow)

    Barnett Waddingham 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    24 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) marks its centenary this year. George Russell, formerly Deputy Government Actuary, who currently heads up GAD’s Edinburgh office, leading on GAD support to the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, will outline GAD’s development over that period and its range of work today. Having just “celebrated” his 25th anniversary of joining GAD, George will also reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities of advising at the interface of the actuarial and the political worlds.

  • Sessional Meeting - Autonomous Vehicles and impacts on the wider insurance industry

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    28 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries is running a sessional meeting on autonomous vehicles on 28th October.  The session will showcase the work of the IFoA “Autonomous Vehicles” working party alongside a number of expert external presenters. 

  • ARC Event: Beyond Proportional Hazards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    30 October 2019

    Spaces available

    ARC Event: Beyond Proportional Hazards: Statistical methods for assessment of the impact of medical advances and health interventions on longevity and population projections.

    This workshop is being delivered by the Actuarial Research Centre’s (ARC) ‘Big Health and Actuarial Data’ Research Programme.

  • Hot Topics in Health and Care: Networking and Drinks

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, London WC1V 6DR
    4 November 2019

    Spaces available

    This evening will feature two new cases studies that highlight the implications for insurers of issues impacting on health and mortality for life, pensions, and health and care products; Impactability modelling: a worked example in Type II diabetes presented by Josephine Robertson, and Seasonal Mortality in England and Wales 1993-2016 presented by Mary Hall, Dublin City University.

  • Autumn Pension Seminar

    Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen St, Holborn, London WC2B 5DA
    13 November 2019

    Spaces available

    Join us for this brand new seminar that brings together our Current Issues in Pensions, Pensions and the Law, and Investment for Pension Actuaries events. The seminar builds on the IFoA’s Annual Pension Conference with sessions covering CDC, TPR’s code of practice, investments, legal updates and Professional Skills Training with a focus on interactive discussion throughout.

    • KSS event: How is Scotland’s population changing and what are the implications?

      Barnett Waddingham, 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
      14 November 2019

      Spaces available

      The National Records of Scotland (NRS) collects, preserves and produces information about Scotland's people and history to inform current and future generations - work that underpins the fabric of Scottish society and tells the story of our nation. This KSS talk will explore the following and other areas impacting Scotland’s changing population, and assess the potential implications of the changes:

      • population statistics
      • life expectancy
      • changes in age structure
      • birth and death rates, including causes of death statistics.
    • Life Conference 2019

      The Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
      20-22 November 2019
      Spaces available

      The Life Conference is the premier event for professionals interested in life insurance.  Offering a wide range of workshops and plenary sessions it’s the perfect opportunity to discover what’s hot and current in life insurance ensuring you get up to date on the latest thinking and innovation whilst meeting and exchanging ideas with a broad range of professionals.

    • Autumn Lecture 2019, London - Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

      Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
      2 December 2019

      Fully booked.

      The IFoA is pleased to announce that this year’s Autumn Lecture will feature the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP as its guest speaker.  Nicky has previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women. She now chairs the Treasury Select Committee whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, along with all of its agencies and associated bodies.

    • Autumn Lecture 2019: Live Streaming

      Webinar 
      2 December 2019

      Spaces available

      Watch the live stream of this year's Autumn Lecture with guest speaker Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP. 

    • Behavioural Finance Research Launch- 14 January 2020

      Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6DR
      14 January 2020

      Spaces available

      We are delighted to announce the launch of the findings from our ARC funded Behavioural Finance research with a special evening event at Staple Inn on Tuesday14th January 2020. Entitled Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making, this research programme is being delivered by City, University of London, Leeds University Business School and Ipsos.

    • Sessional: Impact of E-cigarettes Working Party

      Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
      24 February 2020

      Spaces available

      This sessional meeting will be of direct interest to actuaries and others working in the in the Health and Care, Life or Pensions sectors or indeed an actuaries with an interest in morbidity or mortality.