Actuaries Blamed for UK Pension Scheme Deficits

July 6, 2007 ( - Research published by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) indicates U.K. pension scheme trustees believe actuaries have contributed to the huge deficits faced by many pension schemes by failing to take account of improved life expectancy in their advice.

According to, the report from the Actuarial Stakeholder Group noted: “The trustees interviewed confirmed that there has been some erosion of confidence in the actuarial profession related to past mortality predictions; specifically, actuaries were seen as having been slow to wake up to increased longevity, despite the fact that it was common knowledge that people were living longer.”

In addition, the research by the Actuarial Stakeholder Interests Working Group also suggested the need for actuaries to improve their communication skills. The research revealed a gap between expectations of pension trustees and the understanding of that expectation by actuaries, with trustees saying they expected interpretation and advice, not just figures.

In response, a professional organization of actuaries said the findings are consistent with those of its own research in prior years, reports. The Actuarial Profession said in a statement that it is developing material in its education program to help actuaries acquire the necessary communication skills and is also developing tools to help with future mortality projections.

The FRC also said it would consider actuarial standards and other ways to address mortality.