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Actuarial Post Awards Winners Magazine Out Now

Introducing Michael Ingram – Actuary Of The Year 2020. My initial reaction was one of surprise. It’s a real honour receiving this and I am thankful to everyone who has voted and for all of the kind messages of support I have received. I have to add, my other half’s reaction was brilliant – as soon as she realised I might have to pose for a photo, she went straight for “does that mean you’ll finally let me cut your hair?”

Posted on Friday Jan 22

Exploring the change in new fields and new skills

How actuaries perform their roles is changing rapidly. IFoA President Tan Suee Chieh and Willis Towers Watson's Marisa Hall discuss these new fields and new skills in the latest episode of our 'Exploring the Change' podcast.
Posted on Thursday Jan 21

Year end 2020 valuation considerations for insurers

It would be an understatement to say that 2020 was an unusual year. Now that the new year is upon us and after a lot of planning, actuaries will be focusing on performing year-end valuations, including finalising forward-looking assumptions. The impact of Covid-19 on experience in 2021 and beyond remains an area of huge uncertainty and, as such, this year actuaries must challenge their approach to setting assumptions and how they communicate the uncertainties to the Board.
Posted on Thursday Jan 21

IFoA Presidential Update 2021

IFoA President Tan Suee Chieh as he marks the halfway point of his term with a look back over the past six months.
Posted on Wednesday Jan 20

Key priorities for the LGPS in 2021

Most people will be glad to see the back of 2020, however, it seems the first weeks of 2021 have been just as challenging, as we face the ongoing trauma of the coronavirus pandemic, and in our more specific world of the Local Government Pension Scheme. While we stay safe at home, we look ahead to the priorities for the LGPS in 2021.
Posted on Tuesday Jan 19

Actuarial Post Stars of the Future Award Vote Now

Sponsored by Star Actuarial Futures. Stars of the Future highlights the rising talent in the actuarial industry. We know how hard you all work to qualify as actuaries and this is the perfect way to acknowledge those who strive and go above and beyond. Thank you for you for voting, the winners will be announced in the February issue of Actuarial Post.
Posted on Friday Jan 15

Supporting emergency saving

Our sidecar savings trial is supported by BlackRock, the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) and JPMorgan Chase. The research is being led by Nest Insight, working with academics Sarah Holmes Berk, John Beshears, James Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte Madrian as well as MaPS.
Posted on Thursday Jan 14

TPR publishes interim response on DB funding code

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has today published an interim response to its first defined benefit (DB) funding code consultation. The consultation aimed to scope out what the revised DB funding code may look like under the new developing legislation. It asked for views on several proposals including:
Posted on Thursday Jan 14

4 key investment themes for trustees to focus on in 2021

To help prepare for the busy year ahead, we have set out four key DB investment themes and actions that Trustees should be focusing on in 2021. Preparing for the end of LIBOR in 2021. The end of 2021 will see the long-awaited cessation of LIBOR as an interest rate benchmark. The transition from LIBOR to SONIA (plus an additional margin) will have a number of impacts on the way Trustees manage their investment strategies and 2021 will be a year of ensuring suitable preparation plans are in place.
Posted on Wednesday Jan 13

What investment pathways will mean for pension drawdown

Since the pension freedoms were introduced back in April 2015, individuals have had much more flexibility over how to use their ‘defined contribution’ (DC) retirement savings, currently from as young as age 55. Previously, the most common approach when turning a pension pot into retirement income was to buy an annuity, which provided a guaranteed income for life. But very low interest rates have meant annuity rates have also been at an all-time low, making them look like a particularly poor deal.
Posted on Monday Jan 11

Deep fake losses could be major for insurers

The use of deep fake video and audio technologies could become a major cyber threat to businesses within the next two years, cyber analytics specialist CyberCube has predicted. In its new report, Social Engineering: Blurring reality and fake, CyberCube says the ability to create realistic audio and video fakes using AI and machine learning has grown steadily. In addition, recent technological advances and the increased dependence of businesses on video-based communication have accelerated developments.
Posted on Friday Jan 8

Five New Years resolutions for insurers to consider in 2021

With January upon us, a time many people take a ‘new year, new me’ attitude, Swiss Re believes that people shouldn’t be the only ones making New Year’s resolutions, with businesses also looking at key areas they should be considering for the year ahead. Swiss Re has analysed a number of lifestyle factors that feed into good health that insurers should be looking at and helping consumers to address, with scientific evidence to show they can contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle.
Posted on Thursday Jan 7

Cyber insurers must understand social engineering

Social engineering - the use of deception techniques to trick individual targets and organizations - has taken on different meanings in the context of cybersecurity. Darren Thomson, Head of Cyber Security Strategy for CyberCube, outlines the implications for the insurance industry.
Posted on Thursday Jan 7

Machine learning is key to individualised insurance

Actuaries have always assessed the past in order to predict the future. However, forecasting the future is very labour intensive; they need to crunch through the numbers and establish the likelihood of death occurring and thereby work out the risk parameters of different products in order to maximise profitability whilst delivering value to the customer. Much of the work involves identifying patterns in the data to explore that can enable them to predict the likelihood of re-occurrence.
Posted on Wednesday Jan 6

Solving our data dilemma

From GMPs to DB consolidation, and from McCloud to the dashboard, it’s absolutely clear that all pensions roads lead to a fundamental necessity for accurate, usable data. We’ll discuss how to manage these competing priorities, play the long game and get more value out of your data – and your providers.
Posted on Tuesday Jan 5

FTSE350 pension deficit almost doubles from Brexit and Covid

Mercer’s Pensions Risk Survey data shows that the accounting deficit of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes for the UK’s 350 largest listed companies finished the year at £70bn. This compares to £40bn at the end of 2019. Liability values rose from £815bn at 31 December 2019 to £914bn at the end of December 2020, driven by falls in corporate bond yields. Asset values were £844bn compared to £775bn at the end of 2019. The corresponding deficit at the end of November was £77bn
Posted on Monday Jan 4

What advisers should look out for in 2021

Plans for economic recovery – ‘building back better’ With the Budget in March and Covid-19 cases still on the rise, the Chancellor is expected to remain focused on laying out his plans for protecting jobs and providing wider economic support for struggling business. However, with optimism around the potential of vaccinations allowing life to return to some normality over the coming year, the next big question will be how the government plans to recoup the huge costs of the pandemic and who will bear the brunt of the Chancellor’s plans.
Posted on Monday Jan 4

See a bigger picture with data and member tech in one place

The key to driving member engagement and improving outcomes isn’t just better data, it’s about bringing it all together. With so much scheme and member data sitting across multiple applications, it’s difficult for trustees, employers and members to remove the noise and home in on key value and performance indicators.
Posted on Thursday Dec 31

Solving the Customer Data Management Conundrum

Insurance providers are experts in understanding statistical data but Customer Data Management is a whole different skill, not helped by merger and acquisition activity over the past few years. Mergers and acquisitions are largely driven by insurance providers looking to grow their portfolios, accelerate business transformation and improve the customer experience(i) . As innovation has become a business imperative, insurtech partnerships and M&A activity are providing routes to gain a competitive edge.
Posted on Thursday Dec 31

The role of pensions in the open finance revolution

Open finance will allow consumers to have a 360-degree view of their financial lives, allowing them to make more-informed decisions. This initiative will likely upend the way many traditional financial services operate, forcing a move to more consumer-centric models. How can our industry prepare for, and embrace, open finance?
Posted on Wednesday Dec 30

Corporate transactions the DB pensions endgame springboard

In recent weeks we have seen the announcement of two takeover transactions of UK plcs which involve significant UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes. The takeover of RSA Insurance Group by Intact Financial Corporation and Tryg, covering UK DB assets of around £8.5bn and the takeover of the AA by a consortium comprising TowerBrook and Warburg Pincus, covering UK DB assets of around £2.5bn, such schemes remain a significant factor in M&A transactions.
Posted on Wednesday Dec 30

Empowering and engaging pension savers

An innovative new technology platform allows scheme members to state their preferences on shareholder votes taking place within the companies their scheme invests. A recent master trust trial has produced interesting results. Could inviting savers to voice their opinions on shareholder matters improve their engagement and lead to better outcomes?

Posted on Tuesday Dec 29

Tempted to reduce or pause pension contributions

Covid-19 has placed significant financial pressures on many individuals, and some may consider ‘opting out’ of a workplace scheme or stopping contributions entirely for a period. Others who are paying above the minimum auto-enrolment contribution rate of 5% of a band of earnings may instead consider reducing pension contribution levels to ease what will hopefully be a short-lived burden. While this may offer some financial relief today,
Posted on Tuesday Dec 29

Session 4 at the PLSA Tech Conference 2020

Global views of pensions technology

The pandemic forced us all to adopt technology solutions quickly. Amid the second national lockdown, we hear from leading pensions technology providers from our own and other large economies. Where are we headed, and what types of improvements can our schemes expect to make in the near and longer-terms?

Posted on Thursday Dec 24

When is your credit portfolio at its riskiest

As a financial modeller, credit assets are some of the hardest to capture, as their behaviour is so complex. However, between the St Louis FRED database, Shiller’s long-term equity and interest rate numbers, and Moody’s default data, we can get a fairly rich history of US Baa spread and default risk, covering two major crashes in 1930 and 2008. This means we can make some claims about how credit seems to behave.
Posted on Thursday Dec 24

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