The remarkable growth in the pension risk transfer market in the past few years has caught the eye of the trade media, investors – and regulators. But the transferring of longevity risk from pension funds was discussed long before it became a ‘thing’. Greg Winterton spoke to John Kiff, formerly of the International Monetary Fund, and now an independent consultant, to get his views on how the industry has evolved since he first started discussing it in the mid-2000s.

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Insurers are favouring funded re as it helps firms manage the market and longevity risks associated with writing bulk purchase annuity (BPA) business by reducing capital charges and therefore making PRT deals more competitive. 

Unsurprisingly, given its growth and potential for capital optimisation, UK regulators have been carefully watching the increased use of funded re. In June 2023, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) sent a “Dear CRO’ letter to heads of risk at UK life insurers.

The letter outlined the regulator’s two main concerns from a sectoral review which it had carried out.

“One of the key risks arising in funded re is that firms recapture sub-optimal portfolios with depressed values and with limited ability to be transformed effectively to the firms’ preferred portfolio,” the PRA letter said.

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