UK - Trustees and sponsors at defined benefit pension schemes have grown increasingly concerned about longevity risk, according to MetLife Assurance's recent risk survey.

Its UK Pension Risk Behaviour index (PBRI) surveyed 89 sponsors and trustees on their views of 18 risks affecting pension schemes.

Longevity risk was perceived as increasingly important, with 38% of respondents marking it as important, up from 28% in 2010.

Dan DeKeizer, chief executive at MetLife, said longer life spans would immediately raise a pension scheme's liabilities and require higher contributions.

Concern over longevity risk was more evident among trustees than sponsors, who ranked it one step higher as the fourth-largest risk.

Both said longevity risk's unpredictability made it the hardest to manage and wanted to hedge or transfer that risk.
Emma Watkins, director of business development, said tools available for hedging or transferring longevity risk were limited and that pension schemes rarely used them.

As pension schemes struggle to manage longevity risk, it likely will remain high on the importance list, she said.

In other news, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has appointed Spence & Partners Actuaries and Consultants to join its new actuarial panel.

The panel consists of five actuarial firms that will conduct S143 valuations for pension schemes undergoing the PPF's initial assessment.

Brian Spence, managing director, said using actuaries in this process would secure member benefits faster and more accurately.

Spence & Partners has worked with the PPF in the past, managing the assessment period for pension schemes and conducting S143 valuations.

This appointment comes after the PPF's pilot programme, which found experienced actuaries could generate savings while maintaining high quality.