How do we manage investment strategies in a changing environment? To what extent can cause- of-death modelling help to inform future life expectancy?
How do we manage investment strategies in a changing environment? To what extent can cause-of-death modelling help to inform future life expectancy?
These are just a couple of the questions that the IFoA's Research and Thought Leadership Committee (RTLC) asked of the actuarial community last summer in a large call for research. Its aim was to address some of the significant challenges in actuarial science and complement the extensive research undertaken by IFoA working parties.
The IFoA received 25 research proposals, involving over 100 institutions, from over 20 countries. The call for research also marked the expansion of the IFoA's Actuarial Research Centre (ARC), which was established in 2012 by the Scottish Board. The RTLC sees an opportunity to use the ARC to deliver commissioned research programmes, creating a global network of actuarial researchers and related disciplines.
Following a rigorous review of the 25 proposals received, the RTLC identified three inaugural research programmes for the expanded ARC, addressing the following areas:
* Future pension products that meet customer needs, balancing stability, performance and cost Cass Business School and Heriot-Watt University
* The development of new statistical and actuarial methods in the use of Big Data, in the context of health and wider applications University of East Anglia
* The development of a new generation of mortality and morbidity models, with a specific focus on the drivers for mortality - Heriot-Watt University; Cass Business School; the University of Southampton; Aarhus University, Denmark; University of California, Santa Barbara; and Longevitas Ltd
RLTC chairman, professor Mark Cross says: "We set out some of the key challenges in actuarial science and were overwhelmed by the response from the actuarial community in how it could address them. We have three world-class programmes, and I am delighted that they will form the foundations of our newly expanded Actuarial Research Centre."
The total funding for the above research initiatives and two other calls for research (to be announced shortly) is around £3.1m, which is expected to be funded by the IFoA, industry partners, universities and other actuarial associations.
Similar to the original Actuarial Research Centre, a key feature is that all research combines robust academic rigour with industry relevance. While IFoA volunteers mainly bring a practitioner perspective, the RTLC also recognises that the ARC will benefit from academic leadership and has appointed three world-leading experts in actuarial science to support this aim:
* Professor Andrew Cairns, Heriot-Watt University - ARC director
* Professor Steven Haberman, Cass Business School - ARC associate director
* Professor Shaun Wang, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore - ARC associate director.
These appointments and the funding of the three large programmes make it an exciting time for the IFoA's research agenda. Further updates will appear during the coming months.