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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

  • 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.