The Pension Research Council

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Working Paper

Longevity Risk Management, Corporate Finance, and Sustainable Pensions

Guy Coughlan
WP2013-20

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Abstract — Historically, unexpected improvements in mortality rates have led to large, unanticipated increases in life expectancy, with accompanying increases in the value of defined benefit pension liabilities. As a result, longevity risk needs to be measured and managed alongside the financial risks facing these plans. The emergence of new instruments for hedging longevity risk means that a complete toolkit is now available for managing these plans in a way that is sustainable over the long term. Decisions to hedge or eliminate longevity risk need to be made in a holistic framework. For corporate pension plans this means taking account of the corporate finance perspective, as well as the interdependencies between the sponsor and the plan. This paper addresses the importance of measuring and managing longevity risk and presents a holistic framework for sustainable pension plan management that facilitates longevity risk management decision-making.