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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

  • ARC Sessional Research Event: Drivers of Mortality - Risk Factors and Inequality

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    6 January 2020

    Spaces available

    The authors will focus on a large dataset obtained from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) and related sources. Data are available at the level of Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) – small geographical areas with, typically, 1000-2000 residents and include death counts, exposures and a significant number of socio-economic variables including the index of multiple deprivation (IMD).

  • SIAS Event: My Journey to Data Science, Big Data and AI

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 January 2020

    Spaces available

    Patrick Lee is an actuary who has made the transition to working in software architecture and artificial intelligence (AI). He holds Microsoft Professional qualifications in Data Science, Big Data and AI and is currently working towards a DevOps (the automation of software testing and deployment) qualification. He is a member of the IFoA Council and is also President of the Wessex Actuarial Society. He is also a member of the IFoA and the RSS's joint Data Science Focus Group and will talk on the ethical use of AI. 

  • Spaces available

    This IFoA event for NEDs explores what skills and experience are required to undertake non-executive roles, e.g. as independent NEDs on fund boards or members of IGCs. The event will be chaired by Brandon Horwitz, an actuary who is a consultant and who has held various investment governance roles and who specialises in investment governance as well as being an iNED.

  • Spaces available

    This presentation covers the detail for how the matching adjustment is calculated. A small simple example spreadsheet is provided and discussed in detail.

    For actuaries wanting to get more involved with the matching adjustment, this is the opportunity to get a detailed description of the mechanics involved. This includes cashflows derisking, PRA tests as well as hypothecation.

    The presentation is provided by James Sharpe who has worked on a number of matching adjustment calculations with several firms.

  • IFoA Volunteer Recognition Reception

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

    Spaces available

    As a thank you to all our Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) volunteers, you are invited to join us at Staple Inn Hall, for an evening of drinks, canapes and networking, in London.

    IFoA President, John Taylor, will be attending and will make a speech

    If you support the IFoA as a volunteer (member or non-member), or in any other role, and you are going to be in London on 15 January, please book your place and join us at this reception.

     

  • Sessional Meeting - Operational Risk Dependencies

    Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 9 Queen St Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    20 January 2020

    Spaces available

    The Operational Risk Working Party aims to assist actuaries and others in the modelling and management of operational risk. One of the key challenges in modelling operational risk is the modelling of dependencies between operational risks, and between operational and non-operational risks such as market, credit and insurance risk.

  • KSS event in Glasgow: Public Sector Pensions

    Hymans Robertson, Glasgow 20 Waterloo St, Glasgow
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • KSS event in Stirling: Public Sector Pensions

    M&G Prudential, Stirling Craigforth Campus, Stirling
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • KSS event in Edinburgh: Public Sector Pensions

    Hymans Robertson 1, Exchange Place, Semple St, Edinburgh
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • The Great Risk Transfer – Breakfast briefing and launch event

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    31 January 2020

    Spaces available

    Launch of the IFoA’s 2020 thought leadership campaign The Great Risk Transfer. The campaign will examine the trend of the transfer of risk from institutions to individuals, and how people can be better equipped to manage the financial risks they now face. At this breakfast event the IFoA will launch a call for evidence on this topic.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (11 February 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    11 February 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.

  • 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 actuaries with an interest in morbidity or mortality. Note: Registration is from 17.30 in time for the sessional to begin at 18.00.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (25 February 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    25 February 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.

  • What does this mean for Actuaries serving as NEDs and Trustees? These areas are likely to provide ne

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London. WC1V 6DR, UK
    19 March 2020

    Spaces available

    Recent years have seen ESG, Climate Change, and Responsible Investing thrust onto the corporate agenda in every boardroom. The same also be said for pension funds. Expectations of how companies should respond are high and NEDs on Boards are expected to adapt and adjust their guidance to companies accordingly. What does this mean for Actuaries serving as NEDs and Trustees?

  • Spring Lecture 2020, Edinburgh - Vicky Pryce

    Assembly Rooms, 54 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2LR
    25 March 2020

    Spaces available

    What next in Economic Policy?

    Please join us on 25 March 2020 for our annual Spring Lecture presented by Vicky Pryce in Edinburgh. 

  • 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

    The sixth annual Asia Conference once again offers a prestigious line-up of home and international speakers discussing the insurance and financial industry’s innovation and change in Asia. This year's conference in Kuala Lumpur will be hosted by Tan Suee Chieh, IFoA’s first Asian President. He will also make his Presidential address at this conference and will expand on the important elements of IFoA’s new strategy. 

    Additionally, this landmark conference will showcase how the IFoA is reinventing itself to support its members to succeed and thrive in a digital age, within traditional businesses and beyond, as a global organisation. 

    Not to be missed by international industry players, opinion formers, academic and industry leaders, actuaries and non-actuaries.