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Sessional Research Programme 2014/2015

  • Expert judgement. 8 June 2015

    Presented to an IFoA Sessional Meeting in Edinburgh on 8 June 2015, and to the IAA Colloquium in Oslo on 10 June 2015

    Abstract:
    Expert judgement has been used since the actuarial profession was founded. In the past, there has often been a lack of transparency regarding the use of expert judgement, even though those judgements could have a very significant impact on the outputs of calculations and the decisions made by organisations. The lack of transparency has a number of dimensions including the nature of the underlying judgements, as well as the process used to derive those judgements. This paper aims to provide a practical framework regarding expert judgement processes, and how those processes may be validated. It includes a worked example illustrating how the process could be used for setting a particular assumption. It concludes with some suggested tools for use within expert judgement. Although primarily focused on the insurance sector (including consideration of the impact of Solvency II), the proposed process framework could be applied more widely without the need for significant changes.

  • Sustainability in the financial system. 11 May 2015

    Sessional Research Meeting, 11 May 2015, Staple Inn, London. Research commissioned by the Resource and Environment Board

    Abstract:
    Much actuarial work is underpinned by the use of economic models derived from mainstream academic theories of finance and economics which treat money as being a neutral medium of exchange. The sustainability of a financial system whose understanding is based on a limited view of the role of money has increasingly been subject to criticism. In order to identify needed research programmes to address such criticisms and improve these disciplines, we sought to understand the current state of knowledge in economics and finance concerning the link between monetary and financial factors and sustainability.

    We have approached this through a search for relevant literature published in the highest-rated academic journals in economics, finance and the social sciences for titles and abstracts containing both references to the financial system on the one hand and sustainability and environmental factors on the other.

    The systematic search of a universe of 125 journals and 355,000 articles yielded the finding that surprisingly few research papers jointly address these concepts. Nevertheless, we find that current research shares a broad consensus that the implications of the growth-oriented economic model results in an increasingly interconnected and fragile financial system whose participants are not incentivised to fully recognise the natural environment and resource constraints. We further observe that the prescriptions offered are relatively limited and small-scale in their outlook and that there is a vital need for further research, particularly for actuaries who are required to take a longer term outlook.

    The Resource and Environment Board has supported this work with two key objectives: first to identify research that may have direct application to actuarial work and, second, to identify gaps in academic research that would help drive the IFoA's own research agenda. With this in mind there are three further areas of potential actuarial research. These are the policy aim of pursuing growth without limit within a finite ecosystem; discount factors as the primary means of capital allocation and investment decisions; and the use of GDP as the key metric of economic activity and success. We also conclude that further academic research is urgently needed to understand the sustainability of the banking and monetary system.

    Keywords:
    Literature review; Banking; Finance; Monetary policy; Sustainability; Green economy; Actuarial science

  • Model risk. 23 March 2015

    Sessional Research Meeting, 23 March 2015. Paper by the Model Risk Working Party, presented by N Mojaria

    Abstract:
    With the increasing use of complex quantitative models in applications throughout the financial world, model risk has become a major concern. Such risk is generated by the potential inaccuracy and inappropriate use of models in business applications, which can lead to substantial financial losses and reputational damage. In this paper, we deal with the management and measurement of model risk. First, a model risk framework is developed, adapting concepts such as risk appetite, monitoring, and mitigation to the particular case of model risk. The usefulness of such a framework for preventing losses associated with model risk is demonstrated through case studies. Second, we investigate the ways in which different ways of using and perceiving models within an organisation both lead to different model risks. We identify four distinct model cultures and argue that in conditions of deep model uncertainty, each of those cultures makes a valuable contribution to model risk governance. Thus, the space of legitimate challenges to models is expanded, such that, in addition to a technical critique, operational and commercial concerns are also addressed. Third, we discuss through the examples of proxy modelling, longevity risk, and investment advice, common methods and challenges for quantifying model risk. Difficulties arise in mapping model errors to actual financial impact. In the case of irreducible model uncertainty, it is necessary to employ a variety of measurement approaches, based on statistical inference, fitting multiple models, and stress and scenario analysis.

    Keywords:
    Model; Model Risk; Model Error; Model Uncertainty; Risk Culture

  • Considerations of State Pension Age in the UK. 16 March 2015

    Sessional Research Meeting, 16 March 2015, Edinburgh. Paper presented by Rob Hammond, Steven Baxter and Mark Sadler.

    Abstract:
    State Pension Age (SPA) is an issue of topical interest in the UK at the time of writing due to the Government’s plans to link SPA at future dates to estimates of the projected longevity of the population. This paper considers the background to the current position, how the linkage is proposed to work, other factors that may need to be considered and some changes in the proposed State pension regime that could be alternatives to, or complementary with, a changing SPA.

    Keywords:
    State Pension Age; State pensions; Life expectancy;

  • The link between classical reserving and granular reserving through double chain ladder and its extensions. 2 February 2015

    Sessional Research Meeting, 2 February 2015, Staple Inn, London. Paper presented by Jens Nielson, Professor of Actuarial Science, Cass Business School

  • Forecasting death rates using exogenous determinants. 26 January 2015

    Sessional Research Meeting, 26 January 2015. Paper presented to the Society of Northern Ireland Actuaries (SoNIA) by Declan French and Colin O'Hare.

  • Towards the optimal reserving process. 19 January 2015

    Sessional Research Meeting, 19 January 2015. Paper by the Toward the Optimal Reserving Process (TORP) Working Party presented by Neil Bruce

    Abstract:
    Our principal focus in this paper is on ways that a Fast Close process (or indeed any reserving process) can be structured to maximise the value added within the process given the time and resource available. This builds on the use of actual vs. expected techniques investigated in our previous paper, and also looks at forces external to the reserving function that may derail smooth progress. We highlight a number of practical ways that the balance can be restored in favour of adding value rather than crunching numbers. This paper forms the second in the TORP series.

    Keywords:
    Fast Close, TORP, Reserving, Actual vs. expected

  • The benefits and challenges for insurers considering non-traditional investments. 19 January 2015

    Sessional Research Meeting, 19 January 2015, Staple Inn, London. Paper by the Non-traditional Investments Working Party

    Abstract:
    Life insurers have historically relied upon investment markets as a key source of profit and crucially have been able to do this whilst embarking on relatively ‘vanilla’ investment strategies. In the current low yield environment, broadening their investment horizons is critical to maintaining profitability.

    This paper summarises some relevant external literature and the working party’s own research in understanding the potential benefits and pitfalls for insurers seeking to invest in non-traditional assets.

    The objective of this paper is to help educate and promote understanding by all (the many) relevant parties. In doing so, we hope to help organisations to achieve some further economic success for the ultimate benefit of society.

    Whilst this paper has primarily been written from the perspective of a life insurer, we hope it will be of interest to a much wider audience. Many of the asset classes considered here are relevant to general insurers, pension funds and the wider capital markets.

    It is very important to note that the paper does not contain investment advice and the analysis represents the views of the individuals and the working party and not the companies which they represent or the Profession. The paper does not make any comment as to the suitability (or otherwise) of specific investments for particular investors.

    Keywords:
    Non-traditional assets, alternative assets, investments, ALM, loans, infrastructure, PPP, PFI, social housing, real estate, residential mortgage, commercial mortgage, ground rent, student accommodation, asset backed securities, ABS, RMBS, CMBS, aircraft lease, emerging markets debt, high yield, private placement, private equity, hedge fund, insurance linked security, ILS.

  • Longevity basis risk methodology. 8 December 2014

    Executive Summary:
    This paper summarises the work to date of Cass Business School and Hymans Robertson LLP in relation to assessing longevity basis risk. This work was commissioned by the Longevity Basis Risk Working Group (LBRWG) and funded by the Life and Longevity Markets Association (LLMA) and Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA). The LBRWG was formed by the LLMA and IFoA in December 2011 with a remit to investigate how to provide a market-friendly means of analysing longevity basis risk.

    The key outputs of this work are:

    • for modelling books which are ‘self-credible’ (i.e. a large number of lives & sufficient back history) a shortlist of ‘best of breed’ 2 –population models (specifically the M7-M5 model, or in some situations the CAE+Cohorts model);
    • for modelling the majority of books which are not self-credible, an alternative, easy to apply “characterisation approach”;
    • a clear decision tree framework to aid the selection of an appropriate methodology for assessing basis risk from those mentioned above;
    • a clear recognition of the importance of choice of time series underpinning any 2- (or multi-) population model

    These outputs are backed up by an extensive body of research, including:

    • a review of how trends have varied between different (sub) populations in the past, covering both the highlights of existing literature and additional research based on the Club Vita dataset of UK occupational pension schemes;
    • a review, classification and general formulation of two-population models that could be considered for modelling longevity basis risk;
    • a thorough and systematic assessment of candidate two-population mortality models to identify those which provide the most suitable balance between flexibility, simplicity, parsimony, goodness-of-fit to data and robustness;
    • case studies, review of key challenges and consideration of practical issues in relation to both the M7-M5 model and the characterisation approach.

    Keywords:

  • The effect of model uncertainty on the pricing of critical illness insurance. 24 November 2014

    Sessional Research Meeting, 18 November 2014. Paper presented by George Streftaris

  • Quantitative approaches to model uncertainty. 29 October 2014

    Sessional Research Meeting, 29 October 2014, at Staple Inn Hall, London. Presented by Andreas Tsanakas, Cass Business School, City University, and Andrew Smith, Deloitte

  • Adverse selection in a start-up long-term care insurance market. 22 September 2014

    Sessional Research Meeting, 22 September 2014. Les Mayhew, Cass Business School.

Contact Details

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect of our funding for member-led research please contact the Research and Knowledge Team:

arc@actuaries.org.uk

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Events calendar

  • The Great Risk Transfer – Breakfast briefing and launch event

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    31 January 2019

    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.

  • Sessional Meeting - Silent Cyber Assessment Framework

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    9 December 2019

    Spaces available

    The (re)insurance industry is faced with a growing risk related to the development of information technology (IT). This growth is creating an increasingly digitally interconnected world with more and more dependence being placed on IT systems to manage processes. Note: Registration is from 17.30 in time for the sessional to begin at 18.00.

  • CPD Member Event in Shanghai, China

    Function Room, F39, S1 Fuson Group, the Bund Finance Centre, No.600 Zhongshang East 2nd Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai Chinese address:BFC外滩国际金融金融中心,S1复星集团,39层报告厅,上海中山东二路600号
    9 December 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA’s President-elect Tan Suee Chieh will visit Shanghai. We will host CPD and Awards Presenting event on Monday 9 December 2019. The event is part of Mr Tan’s first presidential trip to China.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (10 December 2019)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ  
    10 December 2019

    Spaces available

    This event will be of interest to students and recently qualified actuaries.

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020.  The content and discussion at this session is particularly tailored to actuarial students and newly qualified actuaries working in any area and the format is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions with your peers.

  • IFoA Joint Member Event with the Sunshine Insurance Group, Beijing China

    Room TBC, Kuntai International Plaza, No.12, Chaowai Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing 地址:会议室待定,北京市朝阳区朝外大街乙12号1号楼昆泰国际大厦
    12 December 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA’s President-elect Tan Suee Chieh will visit Beijing. We will co-host CPD and Awards Presenting event with the Sunshine Insurance Group on Thursday 12 December 2019. The event is part of Mr Tan’s first presidential trip to China.

  • 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 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. Their paper seeks to assist in this regard, and help develop good practice in setting assumptions and modelling operational risk dependencies. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.