The need for actuaries to re-invent the pensions system

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During four sessions 16-23 March, a group of leading economists and actuaries gathered—virtually—to discuss the public interest purposes and shortcomings of finance.

Among them, Paul Collier denounced the actuarial valuation of the USS as spurious and irrelevant, forcing universities to set aside money instead of building better R&D for a stronger economic future. Collier’s critique calls back to the core actuarial conundrum: balancing present and future needs. Providing future promises today has costs for the future. It is clear that the actuarial valuation of USS is incomplete when considered via its feedback to the economy and societal ecosystem of the future. How to perform an actuarial valuation is more complex. In a later webinar, ATC member Nick Silver provided another view. His remarks can be seen on YouTube.

In ATC bulletin 4 Nick explores Paul Collier’s critique in more detail. He says the profession must respond to Collier’s critique of USS and DB pension problems more widely—not in a defensive manner, but in a consultative and mind-opening way benefiting from leading thinkers and the best of actuarial science.

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