Thursday, January 27, 2011

NZZ on life tables

Influential Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung has quoted me on the subject of the appropriate choice of mortality tables for Swiss pension funds (here and here, both in German). Most Swiss pension funds still use period life tables rather than the more realistic cohort life tables (for a distinction see here - nothing useful on Wikipedia, but a nice Wolfram demo here). Cohort tables are preferable because they better reflect increased longevity, whereas period tables have to be adjusted manually. Given that longevity continues to improve, the use of period tables will give systematic advantage to the present pensioner cohort at the disadvantage of future cohorts.

The recently published "technical basis" BVG2010 makes available a set of cohort life tables for the first time. It would make sense for pension funds to adopt that new basis as soon as possible, despite the consequential nominal increase of their liabilities.

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