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A comparison of three different pension savings products with special emphasis on the payout phase

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The purpose of this article is to illustrate how the pension benefits a pension saver will (expect to) receive will depend on the type of pension scheme chosen. We compare three widely different pension savings products: the ‘‘traditional’’ with-profits scheme involving bonus entitlement (average interest rate product), a market-based Unit Link scheme and, finally, a formula based smoothed investment-linked annuity scheme – TimePension in short – which is on many points a cross between the two prior-mentioned types of savings products. The three product types mentioned above have been analysed in previous literature, but those comparisons were based almost entirely on the values of pension savings accounts at the expiry of the accumulation period. This article will include the payout phase (decumulation phase) in the analysis, enabling us to analyse the size of paid-out pension benefits themselves as well as the possibilities of adjusting these benefits periodically. Compared to earlier articles, we have also improved the underlying model for the uncertainty of the underlying financial market. The article demonstrates that expected pension benefits from the three schemes are an increasing function of the allocation to shares in the underlying investment portfolios. TimePension involves the highest allocation to shares and therefore offers, on average, the highest pension benefits, followed by the Unit Link scheme. In the third and last place comes the traditional with-profits scheme, which has a relatively low allocation to shares, but which, in return, also provides relatively safe and stable pension benefits. We also show, however, that the stability of pension benefits from a TimePension scheme is completely level with the stability of benefits from the traditional scheme. Unit Link-based pension benefits, on the other hand, vary far more, and pension savers in this product segment will experience much higher annual adjustments – in a both negative and positive direction – than savers in the other product segments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Actuarial Science
Pages (from-to)137-152
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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