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ARC Research Webinar: Behavioural Finance

Thursday 21 January 2021 12:30 - 14:00

This event is now fully booked. To join the wait list, please register here.

Understanding biases in trustee decision making

What is the evidence that “behavioural” factors, such as human psychology, company culture, corporate politics and conflicts of interest, cause institutional investors to deviate from optimal behaviour? Professor Peter Ayton (Leeds University Business School) presents his findings from the first extensive research programme conducted into the decision making processes of pension fund trustees.

This free-to-view webinar is the first in the IFoA’s 2021 series highlighting its commissioned research through its Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) and offers an opportunity to put questions to the panel on the practical implications for actuaries working in investments and other areas.


Sejal Haria has been heading up Special Projects in London Markets at the Bank of England. She has over 18 years’ experience in the non-life market including 12 years as a consulting actuary with PwC. She has sat on a number of working parties and co-authored the seminal paper "Bias, Guess and Expert Judgement in Actuarial Work", which had the distinction of winning two prestigious industry prizes for demonstrating innovation and thought leadership: the Brian Hey and Geoffrey Heywood prizes. 


Professor Peter Ayton is Director of the Centre for Decision Research at the University of Leeds. He has also held visiting appointments at Carnegie-Mellon University, University of California, INSEAD, Princeton University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin. His research investigates human judgement, risk perception and decision-making using a variety of empirical methods including laboratory experiments, surveys, field studies and archival data.  Published in leading journals in Psychology, Economics, Medicine, Law and Computer Science, his publications have often addressed applied issues including: the impact of computerised advice on radiologists’ cancer screening decisions; magistrates’ bail decision-making; effects of emotion on stock traders’ decisions, unrealistic optimism in convicted prisoners, procrastination in anaesthetists and the misconceptions of professional footballers.

Colin Strong is Global Lead for behavioural science at Ipsos and Honorary Professor of behavioural and consumer science at Nottingham University Business School. Colin and his team work with a wide range of public and private sector organisations to integrate behavioural science with market research techniques.  Much of their activity is focused on understanding behaviour in order to then develop intervention strategies for behaviour change programmes.

Professor Iain Clacher is Professor of Pensions & Finance, Pro Dean for International at Leeds University Business School, and head of the Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation. He is an expert on pensions and retirement savings, most notably on retirement decision-making, pension fund investment, infrastructure investing, sustainable pension systems, trustee governance, and fund management costs and fees. 

Dr Leo Weiss-Cohen is a research fellow at the University of Leeds, where he is investigating behavioural finance biases in investment decisions made by institutional investors. He has an MSc in Finance from the LSE and a PhD in psychology from UCL, and his work focuses on the intersection between economics, finance, and experimental psychology. Prior to joining academia, Leo was a management consultant in financial services for 10 years.


Ashu Bhargava is a member of the Actuarial Research Centre Behavioural Finance Steering Group and Senior Actuary at Clara Pensions. He has over 25 years’ experience working with Trustees and sponsors of pensions schemes. Prior to Clara, Ashu worked at WTW and L&G, where his projects won the Professional Pensions Pension Scheme Trustees of the Year Award and Pensions Age Best Risk Management Exercise Award.

Marcus Hurd is Partner and Managing Director at ndapt, an organisation founded in 2020 to change the landscape for professional and sole trusteeship to pension funds, as well as providing NED appointments for companies with pensions challenges. Prior to that, Marcus has been a Scheme Actuary, corporate actuary and Commercial Director. A keen volunteer for the profession over the years, he has given numerous presentations and talks – not least on the very subject of behavioural finance and trustee decision making in the mid-2010s.

Lynda Whitney is a Partner and Scheme Actuary at Aon.  She has a keen interest in this project and organised for Aon to support the researchers’ recruitment of Trustees. She has been looking at combating behavioural biases through short guides for Trustees, including Ten Questions to Challenge your Advisers, a behavioural checklist for Trustee chairs and, most recently, a Diversity & Inclusion practical guide.

This webinar will be streamed from 12.30-14.00. There will be time at the end of the session for Q&A.