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Research projects

IFoA research programme typically comprises over 100 initiatives at any one time

A full list of current IFoA research working parties can be found here.

The IFoA supports and sponsors research through member-led working parties in various practice areas and through commissioned external research such as that undertaken in universities. By supporting new research, we continue to further actuarial science and aim to provide members with cutting edge knowledge attuned to the realities of their working lives. This listing contains all IFoA research.

Research outputs can be accessed via Sessional Research Programme recordings and Research papers.

Similarly, IFoA research papers provide a way for members and academics to communicate their findings. Research papers can be accessed via the Sessional Research Programme and knowledge exchange page and via the main site search.

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  1. This Research Working Party is concerned with looking at Solvency II's objectives and analysing the outcome of the final regulation against those goals
  2. This Cross Practice Working Party considers and examines the very large amount of money being invested by DC savers
  3. This Working Party explores whether an actuarial approach can add value to accounting for Intangible Assets
  4. The Achieving value for DC Pensions Working Party will meet and work with Finance and Investment Board colleagues as appropriate over 2014 and 2015
  5. The disbanded Actuarial Function Working Party explored the work which that needed to be undertaken by the actuarial function to fulfil the requirements of Article 48 of the Solvency II Directive
  6. The Actuaries and Income Inequality Working Party looks at income inequality caused by (or potentially resolved by) financial services and actuarial responsibility
  7. The Actuaries Climate Index (ACI) is intended to be a resource for actuaries and others in developing predictive models for potential climate change related losses or opportunities and for risk management strategies
  8. The Advanced Pricing Techniques Working Party explores new techniques and ideas of pricing in general insurance
  9. This Working Party is looking at aggregation and simulation techniques in capital models, and in particular how the methods used are tested, communicated and justified to stakeholders, including regulators
  10. PhD Studentship – This project involves research on longevity increase and its effects over the business environment. More precisely the focus will be set on covariates analysis
  11. This Working Party studies the rise of Antibiotic resistance (‘ABR’) and how it has become an increasing concern to the medical professions, health services and governments of the world’s major economies. Given its potential impact, the subject is now of increasing concern to insurers and reinsurers from a mortality perspective, and to a lesser extent pensions actuaries
  12. This Working Party examines different approaches to Asset Liability Management (ALM) in Dynamic Hedging Strategies in order to make recommendations for ALM best practice
  13. This disbanded Working Party worked to identify the opportunities available to insurers in relation to non-traditional assets and the risks and impediments to their adoption
  14. The Banking Debt Working Party is a Cross Practice Working Party which has been set up to look at and investigate the issues affecting banking debt
  15. PhD Studentship – This project has now been completed but reviewed the ways in which different types of liquidity affect the operations of a bank and the extent to which various regulatory requirements add additional constraints to the operations of banks
  16. Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making
  17. To examine ways of better detecting (‘sensing’) and responding to change
  18. The Bond Yields Working Party will look at why bond yields are so low and if they will increase
  19. The Cancer Modelling Working Party is developing projections of the likely future financial burden of cancer in England and Wales, covering both direct and indirect costs
  20. This Working Party looks at the education of actuaries on the impact of central clearing of Over the Counter (OTC) derivatives on pension funds and insurance companies
  21. This cross practice Working Party will focus on a broad range of topics covering all practice areas likely to be effected by climate change. Topics include but are not limited to; Impacts on general insurance risks, mortality and morbidity, effect on risk, growth and investment (including ‘asset stranding’) of government (and regulatory) actions to adapt to and mitigate the effect of climate change, and opportunities for actuaries being created by these changes
  22. The Communicating Defined Ambition Working Party builds on previous research to develop a proposal for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to shape pensions policy
  23. The goal of this working party is to investigate best practice from a customer perspective when communicating investment returns to UK retail investors at three key stages in their journey.
  24. This Research Working Party wishes to consider the adequacy of information provided to members of retirement plans throughout all stages of the individual's working life as well as into retirement
  25. Consumer Risk Metrics is a cross practice Working Party shared by Risk and Life, and it's aim is to develop a simple and easy to understand risk metric that will allow consumers to understand risk in a consistent way
  26. This working party will look at the impact of capital requirements under Solvency II, and if these relate to (UK) protection and investment insurance products. It will also investigate whether the current post-financial crisis low interest environment is causing changes in the way consumers evaluate the products that meet their needs
  27. The Critical Illness Working Party examines the risks and pricing issues associated with current ABI+ and newer minor illness definitions in the Critical Illness Market
  28. This working party will address whether transfer values are too wishes to consider the adequacy of information provided to members of retirement plans throughout all stages of the individual's working life as well as into retirement
  29. This is a working party aimed at providing insight for actuaries working on realistic capital calculations and enterprise risk management for life insurers and general insurers
  30. This disbanded Working Party examined the benefit visualisations provide in the communication of technical work
  31. The working party is trying to raise awareness of visualisations, useful when performing risk modelling
  32. The Working Party examines the resilience of Defined Ambition schemes against different macroeconomic conditions
  33. This Research Working Party will seek to develop an understanding of Defined Contribution pension information in the public domain in the UK and overseas of relevance to the Working Party’s Terms of Reference
  34. Disbanded in 2017
  35. The purpose of the Directors and Officers Insurance Working Party is to understand the pricing and reserving risks around this class of business
  36. The Disintermediation Working Party explores peer-to-peer (P2P) lending from the perspective of investors, borrowers and the P2P intermediaries
  37. This Working Party is now disbanded
  38. This programme seeks to explore current approaches in economic modelling and identify gaps requiring future research
  39. The Emerging Risks working party has been considering emerging risks in the core actuarial fields of insurance, pensions and investments.
  40. The Environmental Risk Reporting working party will build on the work of the **‘Risk Reporting’ working party and the ‘incentives facing UK firms to adopt early risk reporting provisions of the Revised Corporate Code.
  41. The expansion of insurers investing in the Equity Release Mortgages (ERM), and the asset’s long term use to back annuity portfolios, brings ERM into scope of the “matching adjustment” of Solvency II
  42. The Disbanded Risk Reporting Working Party has completed its research investigating risk reporting practices in the Global Insurance Industry
  43. The Extreme Events Working Party is a cross practice Working Party that aims for a better and wider understanding of the various methodologies that could be used for developing benchmark figures, including the advantages and disadvantages of each methodology
  44. The disbanded Fairness in Insurance Pricing Working Party reviewed and summarised various issues (past and present) surrounding the discrimination debate
  45. The Finance and Investment Education Working Party was set up in August 2014 by the Finance and Investment Board to consider how the finance and investment specialist subjects can continue to meet the needs of actuaries to 2035
  46. This working party examines the topic of ‘financial repression’ – Government measures that effectively channel funds which, in an unregulated market, would go elsewhere
  47. This Working Party functions as a source of knowledge and expertise within the Actuarial Profession on matters relating to flooding with a particular focus on the UK
  48. The Cross Practice FRC and Risk Reporting Working Party sought to identify how the profession could raise awareness of the role of actuaries in meeting new requirements for risk management and risk reporting by major listed companies
  49. PhD Studentship – This project has now been completed. It's objective was to further investigate the applications of FDA in Actuarial Science and to develop statistical methodologies and theories suitable for the problems arising from this area, focusing particularly on mortality and risk selection
  50. The Genetics Working Party is accumulating a body of evidence regarding the potential risks of anti-selection from genetic testing to allow the profession to make informed contributions to this topic
  51. The calibration and validation of actuarial models in general insurance is often reliant on expert judgments which can be prone to biases, cognitive or otherwise. The Getting Better Judgement Working Party aims to point to more effective elicitation of information from experts
  52. This Working Party provides a forum for GI actuaries to discuss local and international GI issues impacting members in the region, as well as the opportunity to further research in specific regional issues. 
  53. This Working Party investigates how actuaries might be able to apply their professional skills and experience outside the 'traditional' fields of insurance, pensions and asset management
  54. IFR
    Disbanded 2017
  55. This Working Party (previously IFRS 4 Phase II) examines the implications of the accounting changes on general insurers and, in particular, on the work carried out by actuaries
  56. Commissioned project - This project uses household survey data to examine the likely financial circumstances and behaviour of people during retirement
  57. This Working Party will examine the emergence of e-cigarettes and their impact on insured lives. The impact will be assessed based on the latest medical research and statistics, mortality and morbidity risk and the identification of any emerging trends
  58. This Working Party aims to look at the emergence of wearable technology and the internet of things and their current and potential usage within the health and care area
  59. The Income Protection working party aims to investigate how incapacity and sickness vary by socio-economic factors and how it has varied over time, in particular during the recession
  60. The Inflationary protection and investigating reporting management change Working Party looks at a number of issues, including Defined Benefit investment charges and pricing of inflation protection
  61. There is a lack of knowledge which many financial institutions have about infrastructure investment. This working party will undertake research to uncover information about the risks and rewards which investing institutions are likely to experience
  62. The Insuring Later Life Illnesses working party is working to provide a deeper understanding of later life conditions, and thus allowing insurers to develop more product solutions to help fund care and other costs in later life
  63. The Integrated Risk Management Working Party will assess the three keys risks relating to defined benefit pension schemes – funding, investment and covenant
  64. This Joint IFoA GIRO and CAS – CARe Working Party is exploring what makes for a good reinsurance underwriting submission
  65. This working party explored the reasons we follow the herd seeking to quantify the impact of this, and identify what we can do to support the industry in making assumptions/choosing methods that they believe in
  66. This working party is addressing the Inadequacy of current practices of calculating investment risk and relative return; and plans to propose a radical but intuitively correct methodology to calculate investment returns, relative returns, explanations of differences, or attribution, in a precise and relevant way
  67. The Life Office Taxation Working Party aims to keep abreast of new developments in the field of Life Office tax, to analyse their impact, and to educate and inform members of the profession who are not tax specialists regarding such developments and associated current issues
  68. The Life Reinsurance Working Party is undertaking research to improve the understanding of the benefits of reinsurance in the life sector and the issues that currently exist, with plans to provide a critical view of the current market and suggest options for improvement
  69. Life Solvency and Capital Management Working Party wrote a paper on Expert Judgement (EJ) with full survey results, insights and suggestions for best practice/ standards/ templates
  70. Under current regulations, close matching means that companies typically hold assets equal to the full face value of units or apply actuarial funding techniques. Under the proposed Solvency II regulations, technical reserves will tend to be less than the face value of units
  71. The Liquidity Premium Working Party aims to provide a summary of how life insurance actuaries currently use the liquidity premium for pricing, valuation and risk management
  72. PhD Studentship – The initial focus of this project is on data driven methods for establishing liquidity premia
  73. The Liquidity Working Party raises actuaries’ awareness of the wide range of views on liquidity
  74. The Long Term Care (LTC) Working Party analyses alternative long term care funding models, global models, and their potential applications to the United Kingdom.
  75. A research project jointly commissioned by the IFoA and Life and Longevity Markets Association (LLMA) has developed a readily-applicable methodology for quantifying the basis risk arising from the use of population-based mortality indices for managing longevity risk.
  76. Current actuarial approaches to the assessment of future mortality trends are heavily reliant on reference to historical mortality data
  77. PhD Studentship - This project will look at a number of challenges in the field of longevity risk modelling
  78. The Longevity, Morbidity and Fairness Working Party will Model the impact of different morbidity and longevity experiences of socio-economic groups on the value of annuities purchased
  79. This Research Working Party will consider the wider macroeconomic implications of retirement savings.
  80. This Working Party is considering what With Profit Funds will look like in five years
  81. The Managing Uncertainty with Professionalism Working Party seeks to develop general and simple principles to support actuaries in managing and communicating uncertainty in all fields. This Working Party is the former 1 in 200 working party that was formed in 2012 and it was renamed Managing Uncertainty with Professionalism in 2014
  82. The Marine and Energy Pricing Working Party is writing a Marine and Energy Pricing specific paper to inform and educate the actuarial profession
  83. This Working Party will consider the management of Matching Adjustments as a measure approved by PRA under Solvency II but whose subsequent management is not laid down in all areas. The sums involved are very material but aspects of the future management and fluctuation in the measure is unclear
  84. The Measuring Uncertainty Qualitatively (MUQ) Working Party is developing reserve uncertainty thinking beyond percentiles and bootstrap style techniques
  85. This commissioned research programme seeks to develop pension product designs that keep the customers' needs at the forefront, with a real income in retirement that minimises costs for the customer
  86. Model risk is not as well defined and established as other more traditional risks, so the identification, understanding and communication of model risk is crucial.
  87. This cross practice working party was established to investigate “Big Data”. Primarily focused on the latest and emerging thinking associated with modern mathematical tools and techniques, the working party will explore how the actuary may utilise these techniques to remain practical and add value to the businesses it serves
  88. This programme is application driven, with impact and innovation in the pensions and insurance industries and beyond as its primary aims
  89. PhD Studentship – This project will contribute to designing and pricing mortality-linked derivatives and offering the state of art solutions to the longevity risk
  90. The Nat Cat Risk Validation Framework Working Party was formed in order to further examine Cat Model Validation
  91. Operational Risk (OR) is a Cross Practice working party and acts as the conduit for Operational Risk (OR) research across all practice areas.
  92. This disbanded Research Working Party studied how the 2014 Budget changed the retirement income market irrevocably, impacting the consumer and the regulatory environment.
  93. PhD Studentship – The project aims to design new products that can be used by insurance companies to smooth investment returns for their customers
  94. A cross practice Working Party investigating the challenges of meeting long term care costs, a significant funding challenge for individuals, and both, current and future governments
  95. The Peril Based Reserving Working Party is developing a universal framework for capturing the emergence and development of insurance claims, primarily with a view to developing more granular reserving methods and comparing their performance against existing techniques
  96. This Working Party investigates Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs) and their effects on the UK insurance and reinsurance industry
  97. This Working Party aims to understand how extreme conditions can trigger unexpected policyholder behaviour that significantly impacts insurers. We seek to understand the drivers of such behaviour, so that companies can better manage the consequences of extreme conditions should these occur
  98. The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is co-sponsoring an international research project, looking into the impact ageing populations have on asset values over long time periods and considering the potential impact on large pension plans in Canada, the UK and the United States. The research is being conducted by the University of Waterloo (Canada) and the University of Kent (UK)
  99. Commissioned project - The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) is publishing a series of research reports that investigate the potential impact of auto-enrolment into private pensions on individuals and their levels of pension saving but also on the shape of the private pension market
  100. The Practising Ruin Working Party aims to introduce practitioners to modern ruin theoretic concepts as part of the toolkit for risk-return assessments
  101. The Pragmatic Stochastic Reserving Working Party researches the stochastic reserving methods available to general insurance reserving actuaries with the aim of agreeing a diverse selection of stochastic reserving techniques which will form the focus of the Working Party's subsequent research
  102. This Working Party will look at different aspects of the capital regulation of Life Insurers and whether changes would reduce the tendency for Capital to be consumed or for Capital Requirements to increase in falling markets
  103. A cross practice Working Party investigating the challenges of meeting long term care costs, a significant funding challenge for individuals, and both, current and future governments
  104. Commissioned project - This research project covered three areas; a survey of current practices, a survey of existing research and debate, and the developing of a common language for communicating current practice on discount rates and risk
  105. The focus of this disbanded Working Party was to look at Solvency II on Defined Benefit pensions from a risk management angle
  106. The disbanded Proxy Modelling Working Party assessed the impact of methodology and design choices against a number of relevant criteria, including accuracy, speed, complexity, ease of implementation and cost in order that a more formal understanding of these impacts can be documented and disseminated.
  107. The Rationale for Retirement Behaviour Working Party will seek to better understand patterns amongst those retiring with regards to their pensions choices
  108. This disbanded Working Party considered the lessons learnt from the failure of insurance companies, and how effective were the FSA reverse stress testing requirements in mitigating future failures
  109. The RRP working group’s objective is to coordinate the development of a framework for actuaries, in both the life and non-life sectors, working to develop Recovery and Resolution Plans
  110. An overview of publications, presentations and press articles relating to this research programme
  111. An overview of publications, presentations and press articles relating to this research programme
  112. The Reserving Practice Survey Working Party is reviewing current reserving practice in the UK, covering those undertaking the reserving work (personal lines, London Market and reinsurers) but also canvassing the views of those using the output of the work such as board members, senior management, and regulatory bodies
  113. This working party aims to develop a framework for helping customers understand risks and outcomes for insurance products and for avoiding unexpected customer outcomes
  114. This disbanded Working Party was set up following the 2010 Risk and Investment Conference because there was little material available in relation to risk appetite and specifically developing risk limits
  115. The working party has been created to assist professionals (actuaries as well as other professionals) employed in life insurance business in understanding the meaning of Risk Appetite, how it is determined and its application. A key aim will be to suggest the possible ways it can enhance value for different stakeholders.
  116. Risk terminology varies from organisation to organisation and actuaries working in different organisations may use different terms to refer to the same risk, or use the same nomenclature for completely different risks. This disbanded Working Party set out a classification system that could be used as a common reference point for discussion risk
  117. The scope for this Disbanded Working Party was to consider a description of the feasibility of assessment / measurement of the culture of risk taking and the approaches to assessment / measurement. Also the assessment of the feasibility of changing the risk taking culture of an enterprise and discuss approaches to changing the culture of risk taking. Unfortunately, the research proposal failed to achieve the funding required to enable it to start
  118. This working party was established to form views and recommendations to assist actuarial practitioners in risk management considerations relating to operating in a digital world
  119. This Research Working Party will propose both theoretically sound and practical solutions to the current Risk Margin limitations
  120. The procyclicality project was a joint venture between the IFoA and the Bank of England, led on our side by Ashok Gupta and Ronnie Bowie
  121. This disbanded Working Party looked to develop proposals for enhancing our understanding of risk reporting based on the key elements, reporting to regulators, reporting to outside stakeholders, reporting for managing the business
  122. This Working Party identifies the roles actuaries have in life offices, along with trends, threats to and opportunities for actuaries
  123. This Research Working Party seeks to examine running off mature schemes in greater depth
  124. The Secondary Annuities Scoping Group seeks to conduct research related to annuitants and their engagement in future secondary annuities markets in the UK
  125. The Social Finance and Impact Investing Working Party looks at Social Finance and Impact Investing and the measurement of non-financial returns
  126. Solvency II IMAP investigates the internal model approval process for Solvency II and the specific challenge this presents for General Insurance actuaries
  127. The Solvency II Practical Review Working Party seeks to evaluate the practical implications of Solvency II one year post-implementation and develop improvements for the PRA to consider in respect of this regulation.
  128. Spreadsheet Models look at the issues surrounding end user computing (EUC) tools, especially spreadsheet models, which are in common uses across most businesses including most internal models
  129. The State Pension Age Working Party will identify the factors we would expect the bodies making recommendations to Government on an age related SPA to take into account
  130. This working party was set up to look at stress and scenario testing in life insurance
  131. PhD Studentship - The project will initially be following two linked themes on the topic of model validation: backtesting of risk models and the development of proxy functions
  132. ARC PhD Studentship addressing the study of survival models and their use in actuarial practice
  133. This Working Party is now disbanded
  134. The disbanded Takaful Life Insurance Working Party had the aim of adding to the overall body of knowledge of takaful and advancing actuarial science
  135. This Working Party explores how ‘Story Telling’ might improve communication of potential future developments and adverse outcomes resulting in better decision-making under uncertainty
  136. This cross practice Working Party has been created to examine the main implications of Resource and Environment issues for Pension actuaries and identify the best ways to manage those implications
  137. This working party is to investigate whether consumers understand the value of their with-profits policies and, in particular, is the value of inherent guarantees and potential for real asset growth recognised by consumers? It will also seek to understand what the consumer’s perspective is on the run-off of with-profits funds? Are consumers getting what they signed up for and do they understand the potential ‘end games’ of the run-off of the fund?
  138. Third Party investigates emerging claim trends in third party motor insurance
  139. This Working Party works in tandem with the Third Party Working Party (Data) and the PPO Working Party
  140. The Working Party will consider how customer needs are evolving and the potential impacts on the consumer environment
  141. This Working Party explores the governance and design of existing processes within reserving, ensuring that principles-based guidance (small ‘g’) is given
  142. This working party will examine the management of Transitional Measures for TPs, a measure, one approved by PRA under Solvency II but whose subsequent management is not laid down in all areas. The sums involved are very material but the future management and fluctuation in the measure is unclear
  143. This Working Party is now disbanded, but was created to review the comparisons of the causes of death by broad classification since 1993
  144. The UK Asbestos Working Party investigates asbestos related claims based on UK market data, investigates trends and reacts accordingly
  145. UK Deafness Claims facilitates market data collection and investigates claims experience relating to deafness/noise-induced hearing loss in the UK
  146. PhD Studentship – This project studies the rapidly expanding population of annuitants who have undergone knee or hip replacement
  147. The aim of this disbanded Research Working Party was to undertake research to improve the understanding of recent developments and emerging trends in structuring unit-linked funds.
  148. This commissioned research programme develops new methods for assessing basis risk and evaluating longevity improvement based on Big Health and Actuarial Data
  149. This Research Working party will seek to develop an understanding of Investment Strategies. This working party will consider the following objectives:
  150. Why Retire? explores the concept of a binary ‘retired/not retired’ status and the impact of this concept on the structuring of benefit accumulation and decumulation in later life
  151. The general purpose of the working party is to help promote the potential for actuaries to use their risk skills to work in areas beyond the traditional practice areas. That promotion to be both internally within the profession (raising awareness of the options) and externally (showcasing actuarial skills and the value they can add in different fields).