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Actuarial assumptions

Actuarial assumptions are used to calculate retirement benefits or life insurance payments. On this page you can access a range of articles, books and online resources providing quick links to reports, surveys and life tables.

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Useful links

Life tables

Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI)
Research from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries providing base mortality tables, reports and information, including:

National life tables
Official source for the life tables from the Office for National Statistics which have been responsible for producing national life tables since 31st January 2006. The tables cover trends for the average number of years people in the UK and constituent countries will live beyond their current age, analysed by age and sex. 

Historical national life tables
Information on life tables from the Government Actuary's Department which was responsible for producing national life tables until 31st January 2006. Historic life tables are still available on the GAD website.

Reports, surveys and other publications

2018 Global survey of accounting assumptions for defined benefit plans
The global consultancy firm Willis Towers Watson publishes an annual survey available through the Insights section of its website.

Accounting for pensions 2019
Annual survey of pension disclosures made by FTSE 100 companies produced by Lane, Clark & Peacock. The reports include an analysis of the assumptions used by companies.

Apocalyptic demography: Putting longevity risk in perspective
Report and checklist published by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in association with the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School. The report aims to help 'finance directors to put longevity risk in perspective by focusing on issues such as current life expectancy, projected life expectancy and the types of longevity risk to which their organisation may be susceptible'.

Charting mortality trends: signposts for an uncertain journey
An LCP August 2019 report analysing recent trends in mortality, with an update on mortality modelling and the possible impact of climate change on life expectancy in the UK. 

Mortality assumptions guidance
Pensions Regulator guidance outlining how trustees should go about deciding on mortality assumptions in an actuarial valuation for a defined benefit pension scheme. Issued in September 2008.

The pension liability: Managing the corporate risk
Report from CIMA which 'can assist finance directors in ensuring that the board is aware of the corporate risk of operating with a defined benefit pension liability and is proactive in managing this risk'. The report was first published in November 2006 and updated in February 2008.

Pensions accounting survey 2019 
Annual KPMG survey which looks at trends in best estimate assumptions. 

Questions for users of actuarial work: Pension scheme funding
The Financial Reporting Council has published a series of questions which pension scheme trustees may wish to ask themselves and their actuaries. The publication was announced in the FRC press release 'FRC publishes targeted questions for users of actuarial information' on 30 November 2011.

Survey of pension financial risk
Bi-annual survey on managing pension risk from Mercer Limited. An overview of the data is provided as a press release. 

Update for users of actuarial information
Guide focusing on quality controls for actuarial work published by the Financial Reporting Council in November 2010.

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

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