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Willis Towers Watson: Retirement Consulting and Current Risks


On Tuesday, November 10th, the Actuarial Club hosted Willis Towers Watson for a presentation on retirement consulting. The representatives included Ashley Lederman (FSA, EA), Ben Mitchell (FSA, EA), Dan Hougard (ASA) and L Lindblom. All of the presenters currently work in Retirement consulting, one of Willis Towers Watson’s largest actuarial line of business


The presentation started off with an introduction to the 3 main types of pension plans, which are

· Defined Benefit (annuity paid by employer after retirement)

· Defined Contribution, DC (portion contributed by employee in each paycheck, ie 401(k))

· Hybrid (a combination of both).


The conversation then shifted towards the main roles of a Retirement Consultant. The presenters also took this time to refute the claim that Retirement is a dying field and stated that “People are always going to retire, and the nature of retirement will constantly change, ensuring that Retirement Consultants will always be needed”.


Next, the implications of COVID-19 towards the retirement landscape was discussed, specifically the economic impacts and shifts in mortality rates resulting from COVID-19 and need for model revaluation due to these changes.


Retirement tends to be less important for younger individuals. To encourage interest in retirement savings for younger individuals, a firm called Abbott gave employees the options of contributing 2% of their paycheck to either student loan repayments or salary deferment into DC, of which employers would match 5% of the employee’s pay.


The presentation ended with a demonstration of the FiT AgeSM program developed by Willis Towers Watson, which could predict a person’s Financial Independence Target Age, or the age at which resources exceed wants under multiple scenarios, and it was fascinating to watch the model at work!


We would like to extend our gratitude towards Willis Towers Watson, Ashley, Ben, Dan and L for their time spent with our future Actuarial professionals! We enjoyed learning about their work in Retirement Consulting, as well as the various challenges and innovations that are currently facing the retirement sector, and we hope to hear from them again in the future!

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