The majority of contributors believe there will continue to be a role for actuaries in the pensions industry, even as defined benefit (DB) provision is phased out.
Respondents pointed out that DB schemes would generate plenty of demand for actuarial skills for decades to come.
"For the next 10 years at least I would expect the level of actuarial advice needed in relation to DB schemes to increase rather than decrease, as DB schemes pose real financial headaches to employers," predicted one contributor.
"I doubt any of the current ones need worry," said one commentator. "Very few schemes can afford to buy out so they will be running off existing liabilities for many years to come."
Another respondent added: "DB schemes will continue to exist in the public sector and in industries with strong unions. The question is whether defined benefits come back in the private sector in a watered down form rebranded as ‘defined ambition' (DA)."
Many commentators agreed that actuaries had a role to play in improving defined contribution (DC) and designing DA, but most said this role would be reduced.
"It may spell the end of advice on DB plans," predicted one contributor, "but there are many other areas where they can deploy their skills and expertise around investment for DC and more sophisticated modelling for members."
Other contributors were less complimentary about the ability of actuaries to reinvent their roles. One said: "They'll probably find a way for restating the projections of when the role will come to an end and anyway, they're already trying to recreate their roles as fiduciary managers, so watch out for them to muck that up as well."
"Here's hoping," said another critic of the industry. "No doubt they'll create a new niche market where they can charge ridiculous fees for 'their best guess'."
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