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DB considerations for Buy and Maintain investment approaches

Since the 2022 gilts crisis, there has been an increase in maturity and an acceleration in de-risking for many UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes. Despite no two DB schemes being the same, a common feature in many de-risked portfolios are Buy and Maintain Credit (B&M) strategies. These can offer DB schemes many attributes, including exposure to credit, predictable cash flows and interest rate sensitivity, alongside other matching assets such as Liability Driven Investment (LDI) strategies.
Posted on Tuesday Jul 23

Tips for trustees on navigating climate risks and impacts

In this second article in the series we explore some of the practical actions that trustee boards can take as they navigate their climate journeys. These actions can be applied to all pension schemes, irrespective of size. Climate risk can sometimes feel like a dark shadow looming over a pension scheme. It’s not fully discernible, but you know it’s there, and you have a nagging feeling that it’s something you should be dealing with… but how?
Posted on Monday Jul 22

Will CDC last forever

There have been many positive claims made about the potential for collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, but immortality isn’t one. So as an industry, if we believe in all’s well that ends well, we need to make sure we plan for a smooth end to schemes that reach the end of their natural lifespan. The positive potential for CDC includes higher and more certain incomes than most DC schemes offer today, something well worth putting some effort in to plan for!
Posted on Friday Jul 19

Enhancing value for members and sponsors

Barnett Waddingham webinar on DB pensions scheme run on enhancing value for members and sponsors with Ian Mills, Head of DB End Game Strategy, Ali Tayyebi, Partner, Ben Clacker, Partner from Barnett Waddingham and Isabel France, a legal expert from A&O Shearman.
Posted on Thursday Jul 18

Could we see the return of DB pension accrual

Shifting economic conditions and pension surpluses could spur the revival of defined benefit (DB) pension accrual.DB pension accrual was once commonplace in the UK private sector and a fundamental component of an employee’s benefit package. However, a combination of low interest rates and rising life expectancies put paid to DB as the primary form of retirement provision during the 2000s, with companies almost universally switching to lower risk (and lower cost) defined contribution (DC) pension arrangements for current employees.
Posted on Thursday Jul 18

Global insurance market outlook 2024

Still strong labour markets and improving real wages are set to boost insurance demand. Higher interest rates will fuel strong sales in fixed-rate life savings business, creating a notable turnaround in the life insurance industry, especially in advanced markets. Life insurance in advanced markets has been in a slump on account of the very low interest rate environment that ran from the time of the global financial crisis (2008–09) until after 2021. Now, the sector is back in business.
Posted on Wednesday Jul 17

Harnessing AI and Data in Insurance

Since the launch of ChatGPT at the end of 2022, artificial intelligence has captured the public’s imagination as well as investors’ attention. Over the last twelve months in particular, companies around the globe have begun to experiment with all forms of AI, some desperate to be the first to tap into the raft of rapidly maturing technologies across the AI sphere. For some industries, AI has the potential to be quite transformative – particularly those for which data plays a pivotal role.
Posted on Wednesday Jul 17

Your Dreams are China in your hand

One of the more polarising questions in investment right now relates to China. Some suggest investors should avoid it, and some suggest investors can’t do without it. So, what are the (investment) cases for and against? In the red corner, China is a huge part of the world, both geographically and financially. It accounts for 15% of global goods exports (and 11% of imports), and 17% of global GDP. It’s also underweighted in typical holdings - China A shares are only included in the MSCI EM with a 20% inclusion ratio.
Posted on Tuesday Jul 16

How data can make insurance more affordable

The economy took a positive spin when inflation dropped to 3.4 percent in February 2024. This was the lowest level since the end of 2021. For many consumers, however, prices rising less fast is not cause for celebration. As the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reveals 22% of people cancelled insurance in the last year as they couldn’t afford it, the figures speak for themselves. Consumers are still struggling and the fact that so many have had to let policies lapse to make ends meet, is alarming.
Posted on Monday Jul 15

Maintaining scheme operations

Arguably one of the key focuses for all trustees is to ensure that scheme activities can continue in the event of an emergency or disruption. This is enshrined in The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) General Code; having an Effective System of Governance (ESoG) is integral to ensuring that the scheme can carry on regardless. Trustees need to ensure all their pension scheme’s operations can be maintained in the event of a disruption to scheme activities – this covers a range of risks from key third-party providers to succession planning.
Posted on Friday Jul 12

Most Pensions now offer modellers and advice at retirement

Aon announces the results of its seventh annual Member Options and Support survey of UK defined benefit pension schemes. Covering the views of almost 300 schemes, the survey found that over a third of them are now offering additional support to members through online modellers and/or independent financial advisers (IFAs). As a reflection of the improvements in funding levels and increased discussion on endgame planning, this year’s survey also includes insight from six of the leading bulk annuity insurers in the UK.
Posted on Thursday Jul 11

Our personal digital footprint an opportunity or challenge

Every year our personal digital footprints get bigger and the potential value associated with this data increases, including for applications like insurance. Managed well, this data could help insurers understand risk better and serve policyholders interests. Managed poorly, it could see significant harm to consumers and the competitive landscape. Regulators are starting to take an interest in this area, as evidenced by the recent FCA feedback statement FS24/1. It will also pose competitive and ethical challenges for insurers.
Posted on Wednesday Jul 10

Opportunities and challenges for insurers today

Recent global challenges have created both obstacles and opportunities for insurers, particularly in areas like AI, interest rates, and work environments. The world has experienced some profound events in recent years: a global pandemic, ongoing geopolitical turmoil, and unprecedented macroeconomic volatility. In a recent seminar we examined how, across our clients and throughout the market, we have seen that life and general insurers are navigating challenges across a few key areas.
Posted on Tuesday Jul 9

MBWL Global Survey Webinar

An impressive panel of experts from MBWL, Barnett Waddingham, Eversheds Sutherland, and Inchcape discuss EVP propositions for multinational companies. Introduction with JP Augeri, Managing Director and Global EB Consulting Leader, Milliman. UK view with Riaan van Wyk, Senior Consultant, Barnett Waddingham. UK legal developments with Laura Pharez-Zea, Principal Associate, Evershed Sutherland. Overview of global H&W journey with Cy Murray, Group Director, Rewards and Benefits, Inchcape plc
Posted on Monday Jul 8

Doing the pension double regulation and engagement

It is often said that prior to the introduction of pension freedoms in 2015, savers with defined contribution (DC) pensions had “no choice” but to buy an annuity with their DC pension pot. For someone like me who has been involved in DC pensions for a long while, it is the equivalent of maintaining that football did not exist until the formation of the Premier League in 1992. Savers were never mandated to buy an annuity. Buying an annuity was not the only option but for a variety of reasons it was the default, meaning most people chose it.
Posted on Monday Jul 8

Navigating the new funding era for the LGPS

One of the hottest topics this summer has been Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Trending almost as strongly (perhaps with a less global audience!) is the LGPS conversation about our new funding era. The previous funding era was defined by funding black holes, high and climbing employer contributions, high investments in growth assets, death spirals and crippling employer cessation debts – we were all familiar with the issues and the jargon (and of course the solutions).
Posted on Friday Jul 5

How life insurers can leverage the power of generative AI

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) models are 10,000 times more powerful compared to just five years ago. An increase in power on this scale creates significant opportunities for insurers. The life insurance industry is at a turning point, with rapid transformation being driven by factors including technological innovation and changing market dynamics. AI in particular has the potential to redefine traditional practices and revolutionise the entire value chain, from greatly improving customer services and risk assessments to retention and policy customisation.
Posted on Thursday Jul 4

The General Election and implications for equity investments

As the General Election approaches, we are watching closely for any announcements that will affect UK pension schemes. In recent years, the Government has had a clear focus on revitalising interest in UK equities, with the Spring Budget 2024 introducing a fresh wave of initiatives, such as an increased ISA allowance for domestic shares, mandatory disclosure for pension schemes, and the innovative PISCES trading venue for private company stocks.
Posted on Wednesday Jul 3

Collective what

Collective defined contribution (CDC) offers savers many benefits, although, as with any pension solution, there are pros and cons. At its heart, it has the potential to offer savers higher and more certain retirement incomes. Given that millions of DC savers currently face inadequate retirement incomes and that traditional drawdown for retirement is an economically inefficient way of delivering pension income, we need a new approach.
Posted on Tuesday Jul 2

Role of actuarial software on the implementation of IFRS 17

The implementation of IFRS 17 has been a major focus for the global insurance industry in recent years, in differing phases, and with varying degrees of success. Whilst some carriers have been implementing IFRS 17 out of necessity, others have seen it as an opportunity for transformation – with each approach giving rise to different outcomes.
Posted on Monday Jul 1

May 2024 Edition of the Actuarial Post Magazine

All political parties have published their manifestos this month in the lead up to the General Election. In the polls it seems that Labour has a commanding lead, however, polls have been wrong before. Our cover story this month has Andrew Pollard from SAS examining how actuaries can help mitigate the impact of extreme weather. We also have Taffy jo Mayers and Patrick Anderson-Higgins from WTW looking at how traditional barriers are fading as insurers converge in a collaborative digital landscape.
Posted on Friday Jun 28

Thinking when rather than if about cyber risk

You won’t regret time spent planning for a cyber incident that doesn’t happen, but you will regret not being prepared when one occurs. The pensions industry has had its share of unexpected events in recent years. In my experience, trustees and the industry supporting them have always risen to these challenges. That’s not to say we shouldn’t reflect on lessons learned and continue improving the resilience of pension schemes.
Posted on Thursday Jun 27

Securing a better retirement future for DC savers

Whilst we’ve only recently published our paper, it’s clear from the response that this is a topic that resonates with many of you; individuals thinking about their own retirements, employers providing benefits that attract and retain as well as help with workforce planning, policymakers grappling with how and when to make change, and political parties approaching manifestoes.
Posted on Tuesday Jun 25

Rising interest rates a game changer for life insurance

Jerome Haegeli, Swiss Re's Group Chief Economist, discusses how higher interest rates impact the life insurance industry and why they offer new opportunities for retirement savings. He explains how life insurance and pension products can benefit from higher investment yields and how they can help narrow the retirement savings gap, a growing challenge with ageing populations. Haegeli also shares Swiss Re Institute's predictions for the future of the life savings market, which is already seeing record sales and is set to thrive over the next decade. Watch the video to learn about his 3 key points.
Posted on Monday Jun 24

Pensions legislation in limbo ahead of General Election

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s rain-drenched announcement of a national General Election on 4 July has triggered a government shutdown and a civil service scramble. What does this mean for the pipeline of pensions-related legislation? Almost immediately after the Prime Minister’s statement on 24 May, Parliament was prorogued, stopping any new business from being introduced. Any pending business at prorogation was left on borrowed time, as Parliament would be dissolved on 30 May.
Posted on Monday Jun 24

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