Longevity risk transfer markets: market structure, growth drivers and impediments, and potential risks - consultative report

August 2013

The ageing population phenomenon being observed in many countries poses serious social policy challenges. Longevity risk - the risk of paying out on pensions and annuities longer than anticipated - is significant when measured from a financial perspective. Longevity risk transfer markets: market structure, growth drivers and impediments, and potential risks  is a forward-looking report released by the Joint Forum on longevity risk transfer (LRT) markets. It makes the following recommendations to policymakers and supervisors:

  1. Supervisors should communicate and cooperate on LRT internationally and cross-sectorally in order to reduce the potential for regulatory arbitrage.
  2. Supervisors should seek to ensure that holders of longevity risk under their supervision have the appropriate knowledge, skills, expertise and information to manage it.
  3. Policymakers should review their explicit and implicit policies with regards to where longevity risk should reside to inform their policy towards LRT markets. They should also be aware that social policies may have consequences on both longevity risk management practices and the functioning of LRT markets.
  4. Policymakers should review rules and regulations pertaining to the measurement, management and disclosure of longevity risk with the objective of establishing or maintaining appropriately high qualitative and quantitative standards, including provisions and capital requirements for expected and unexpected increases in life expectancy.
  5. Policymakers should consider ensuring that institutions taking on longevity risk, including pension fund sponsors, are able to withstand unexpected, as well as expected, increases in life expectancy.
  6. Policymakers should closely monitor the LRT taking place between corporates, banks, (re)insurers and the financial markets, including the amount and nature of the longevity risk transferred, and the interconnectedness this gives rise to.
  7. Supervisors should take into account that longevity swaps may expose the banking sector to longevity tail risk, possibly leading to risk transfer chain breakdowns.
  8. Policymakers should support and foster the compilation and dissemination of more granular and up-to-date longevity and mortality data that are relevant for the valuations of pension and life insurance liabilities.

Comments on this consultative report should be submitted by Friday 18 October 2013 by e-mail to baselcommittee@bis.org. Alternatively, comments may be sent by post to: Secretariat of the Joint Forum (BCBS Secretariat), Bank for International Settlements, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland. All comments may be published on the websites of the Bank for International Settlements, IAIS and IOSCO unless a commenter specifically requests confidential treatment.

 

The Joint Forum was established in 1996 under the aegis of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) to deal with issues common to the banking, securities and insurance sectors, including the regulation of financial conglomerates.