Guide to managing longevity risk

  • To ascertain the effects of longevity risk on a portfolio
  • To be able to explain to clients the different ways of structuring a portfolio
  • To understand what sequencing risk means for a pension portfolio
Managing longevity risk
Living longer sounds ideal but how can you ensure your clients' finances will survive as long as they do?

Okinawa, Japan, is an interesting island, not just because of its natural beauty but also because of its people.

Okinawans could possibly be the world's most healthy elderly people. Far from being God's waiting room, towns and communities on the island are filled with people of pension age and over busy gardening, swimming, riding bicycles and taking part in daily outdoor exercises.

As a recent BBC report claimed, for every 100,000 inhabitants, Okinawa has 68 people aged 100 or over. This is more than three times the numbers found in US populations of the same size.

They are healthier, too: a high-carb, fresh diet of pesticide-free food, locally grown and sourced, has been credited by residents as giving them their life and health.

While the UK might be some way behind the health and longevity trends of Okinawa, there are lessons to learn about healthy lifestyles and a positive mindset as we move through our pensionhood into our later years.

But we are living longer - and in order to keep our lifestyle healthy and our mindset positive, we need to know our bank balances will be just as healthy.

With longevity comes the need for our pensions to stay the course with us. This means having a portfolio that can withstand maybe 20, 30 or even 40 years' worth of drawdowns, market shake-ups and various calls on the pot, such as funding later-life care - or that holiday to Okinawa.

This means the pension pot itself needs to have health checks by professional advisers. But how can advisers make sure their clients have not only accumulated enough in working life but also can have enough to live on for the rest of their lives once the client retires?

Add to this the recent lessons we have learned about sequencing risk and the market's tendency to react very badly to some black swan events, and it is clear the old totems of shifting from risk assets to bonds at retirement age, or taking a rule-of-thumb 4 per cent every year, will not cut it for all clients.

This report looks at the various issues with longevity planning, assessing the risks inherent with actuarial assumptions, sequencing risk, market drawdowns and how to make sure the pot does not run dry before it is no longer needed.

To view the report, click on the image above. This report qualifies for approximately 60 minutes' worth of CPD.


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  • To ascertain the effects of longevity risk on a portfolio
  • To be able to explain to clients the different ways of structuring a portfolio
  • To understand what sequencing risk means for a pension portfolio

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