IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An institutional evaluation of pension funds and life insurance companies


  • Dirk Broeders
  • An Chen
  • Birgit Koos


This paper compares two different types of annuity providers, i.e. defined benefit pension funds and life insurance companies. One of the key differences is that the residual risk in pension funds is collectively borne by the beneficiaries and the sponsor while in the case of life insurers, it is borne by the external shareholders. This paper employs a contingent claim approach to evaluate the risk return trade-off for annuitants.For that, we take into account the differences in contract specifications and in regulatory regimes. Mean-variance analysis is conducted to determine annuity choices of consumers with different preferences. Using realistic parameters we find that under linear and quadratic utility, life insurance companies always dominate pension funds, while under other utility specifications this is only true for low default probabilities. Furthermore, we find that power utility consumers are indifferent if the long term default probability of pension funds exceeds that of life insurers by 2 to 4%.ÂÂ

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Broeders & An Chen & Birgit Koos, 2009. "An institutional evaluation of pension funds and life insurance companies," DNB Working Papers 227, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:227

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Broeders, Dirk & Chen, An, 2010. "Pension regulation and the market value of pension liabilities: A contingent claims analysis using Parisian options," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1201-1214, June.
    2. Exley, C.J. & Mehta, S.J.B. & Smith, A.D., 1997. "The Financial Theory of Defined Benefit Pension Schemes," British Actuarial Journal, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(04), pages 835-966, October.
    3. Bodie, Zvi, 1990. "Pensions as Retirement Income Insurance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 28-49, March.
    4. Jeffrey R. Brown & Peter R. Orszag, 2006. "The Political Economy of Government-Issued Longevity Bonds," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 73(4), pages 611-631.
    5. David Blake, 1999. "Portfolio Choice Models of Pension Funds and Life Assurance Companies: Similarities and Differences," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 24(3), pages 327-357, July.
    6. Jacob A. Bikker & Peter J.G. Vlaar, 2006. "Conditional Indexation in Defined Benefit Pension Plans," DNB Working Papers 086, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    7. Chen, An & Suchanecki, Michael, 2007. "Default risk, bankruptcy procedures and the market value of life insurance liabilities," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 231-255, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Pension plans; barrier options; contingent claim approach; mean-variance analysis.;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:227. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rob Vet). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.