Pension outsiders

January 15, 2015

Eminent doctors and infectious disease experts have, rightly and courageously, taken the lead in the efforts to deal with the Ebola outbreak. Imagine if vice-chancellors or employers’ human resources teams criticised them on the grounds that they themselves, rather than medical professionals, were responsible for dealing with the consequences of an infectious disease. We suspect that the ensuing storm of censure would be overwhelming.

It is disturbing then, in the context of pensions, to read that Universities UK, in its 2 December response to the Universities Superannuation Scheme consultation on technical provisions and the recovery plan, “observed that many of the criticisms of the Gilts+ methodology have come from parties that are not directly responsible for addressing the consequences should the aspired for investment returns not come through in practice (meaning they have often come from eminent mathematicians and physicists, rather than from vice-chancellors or employers’ finance teams)”.

Signatories of criticisms included actuaries, statisticians and financial mathematicians.

J. L. Hutton
S. D. Jacka
Department of statistics, University of Warwick

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