Defined benefit pension plan funding and the role of actuaries

Defined benefit pension plan funding and the role of actuaries

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Speaker: Charles Cowling

The Pensions and Employee Benefits Committee of the International Actuarial Association created a working party to produce an educational monograph on the funding of DB plans and the role of actuaries. This paper looks at the funding of DB pension plans around the world, how they vary by plan design and regulatory structure and the role that actuaries play in the key issues and questions that arise around the funding of DB plans. The issues that are explored include:

  1.  What is the purpose of funding?
  2.  Is the funding objective clear and understood by all parties?
  3.  Is the funding strategy consistent with the funding objective?
  4.  How does the investment strategy interact with the funding strategy?
  5.  How is the financial position of the pension plan expected to develop in the future?
  6.  Are the actuarial assumptions reasonable and appropriate?
  7.  Are the risks associated with the funding and investment strategies understood?
  8.  What is the impact and likelihood of the continued support of the employer?
  9.  What conflicts of interest exist?
  10.  What information is provided to members?

These questions are informed and illustrated by examples and case studies from different countries around the world. The paper is aimed at a wide audience of readers (ie not just actuaries) who are interested in the funding of DB pension plans (including Governments and Regulators).

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