Researching the future of pensions and mortality



Heriot-Watt is involved in two out of three newly announced ground-breaking projects financed by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA). The four year programmes, funded to a total of £3.1 million, will be run through its Actuarial Research Centre and follow a Call for Research which generated 25 proposals involving more than 100 institutions from over 20 countries.

These prestigious research programmes, place Heriot-Watt right at the centre of actuarial research.
Professor Andrew Cairns

Heriot-Watt is leading a project to develop a new generation of mortality and morbidity models, with a specific focus on the drivers for mortality and the management of longevity risk, partnering with Cass Business School, the University of Southampton, Aarhus University in Denmark, the University of California Santa Barbara and Longevitas Ltd.

Heriot-Watt is also partner in a programme to look at how the pensions industry can tailor future pension products that meet customer needs, while balancing stability, performance and cost.  It will be run jointly with Cass Business School, with industrial collaboration from Blackrock and Danica Pension.

Colin Wilson, President-elect of the IFoA, said, “This new research programme represents a significant step change in how the IFoA supports research and is a long term investment in ground breaking research that is relevant to actuaries around the world, industry and others such as policymakers. The programmes complement many of the existing research activities already undertaken within the IFoA, such as our volunteer working parties.

“The research programme is also the first step in expanding the IFoA's Actuarial Research Centre to include a wider range of projects, researchers, institutions and partners.”

Heriot-Watt's Professor Andrew Cairns, Academic Director of the Actuarial Research Centre, who is leading the new generation of mortality and morbidity models project, said, “The awarding of these two prestigious research programmes, along with other recent positive announcements, place Heriot-Watt right at the centre of actuarial research, with our success grounded in our significant engagement with the insurance and pensions industry.

“The scope of these projects and the funding supplied by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries will be a real game changer for actuarial science in the UK, and my congratulations to both our team and to the future pensions products team, led for the University by my colleague Catherine Donnelly.”

Professor Mark Cross, Chair of the IFoA's Research and Thought Leadership Committee, said, “We set out some of the key challenges in actuarial science and were overwhelmed with the response from the actuarial community in how it would seek to address those challenges.  What we have here are three world-class programmes and I am delighted that they will form the foundations of our newly expanded Actuarial Research Centre.”