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2016 Events

Activating Pension Plan Participants: Art or Science?

Presented by Lisa Brüggen, Maastricht University

10th November 2016

Western societies are facing a historically unprecedented development: life expectancies are increasing and birth rates are falling. This puts pension systems around the world under pressure and results in more risks and responsibilities for pension plan participants. However, recent research reveals that retirement readiness, the degree to which an individual is on target to meet his/her retirement-income goals, is low. Thus, potential pension gaps remain undetected and could have severe consequences for participants once they retire.


Do people behave differently if they are exposed to the sentence “investing in your future pension is becoming even more important” versus “ensuring your future pension is becoming even more important”?

In this talk, Lisa shared her research that looks at finding ways to activate participants. She also shared the key findings of five empirical studies that she conducted in collaboration with pension providers.

Watch the video of the event here (please see note for CPD verification purposes)

View presentation slides

Read a short article about this event (page 36)


Smart Beta, Scrabble & Simian Index Strategies

By Dr. Nick Motson, Cass Business School

19th September 2016

This event was sponsored by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Traditional equity indices such as the S&P 500 or the FTSE 100 are constructed by selecting a subset of stocks and weighting each one by its market capitalisation. A major advantage of this is that the indices have low turnover, thus require very little trading and are cheap to track. More recently, however, a number of alternative weighting schemes have been proposed, often backed by research published in academic journals, which claim to potentially offer superior performance. These transparent, rules-based alternative weighting schemes have collectively been termed “smart beta” and have attracted significant investor interest, with estimates from Morningstar indicating over $500bn tracking smart beta indices by early 2015.  

In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison Nick used a common set of US stocks and examined the historical performance of 8 popular smart beta approaches in an attempt to better understand the possible sources of the historical outperformance. He also presented their own smart beta approach based upon the rules of Scrabble and compare all approaches to a large sample of randomly created indices.  

View presentation slides

Read a short article about this event (page 36)

Artificial Intelligence: Risk and Risk Control

By Stuart Armstrong, Oxford University

24th May 2016

This event was sponsored by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the least understood global risks.

While there is considerable uncertainty associated with AI, there are

reasons to suspect that an AI with human-comparable skills could be a major risk factor.

The talk showed that though short term AI is susceptible to estimation using various tools, long term AI is extremely uncertain - but this uncertainty is worrying, rather than reassuring. Despite the uncertainty, assessing and reducing the risk to some significant degree is possible.

Stuart Armstrong's D.Phil was in parabolic geometry, calculating the holonomy of projective and conformal Cartan geometries. He later transitioned into computational biochemistry, designing several new ways to rapidly compare putative bioactive molecules for virtual screening of medicinal compounds.

His current research at the Future of Humanity Institute centres on formal decision theory, general existential risk, the risks and possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI), assessing expertise and predictions, and anthropic (self-locating) probability.

Watch the video of the event here (please see note for CPD verification purposes)
View presentation slides
Read a short article about this event (page 35)

Business Ethics: Lessons from corporate scandals

Presented by Ashley Hamilton Claxton, Royal London Asset Management

25th February 2016

This event was hosted in conjunction with the Chinese Actuarial Network UK (CANUK)

Ashley used thought-provoking and interesting case studies such as Afren, Olympus, Tesco and Barclays to highlight the importance of ethics, governance and responsibility in today’s business environment. They say you should never waste a good crisis. She focused on how corporate scandals and spectacular company failures can teach us a lot about the link between business ethics, governance and financial performance.


Ashley oversees RLAM’s corporate governance analysis, company engagement and proxy voting. She also conducts environmental and social research and analysis for the banking, construction and property sectors. She writes a regular article for CityWire Wealth Manager on corporate governance and sustainability issues and has been widely quoted in the UK’s national newspapers.

Please email the TANC Committee if you would like a copy of the presentation slides
Read a short article about this event (pages 36-37)



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