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In this paper, we study the optimal VIX-linked target benefit (TB) pension design. By applying the dynamic programming approach, we show the optimal risk-sharing structure for the benefit payment exhibits a linear form that consists of three components: (1) a model-robust performance adjustment, (2) a counter-cyclical volatility adjustment that depends on the VIX index, and (3) a TB level that is partially indexed to the cost-of-living adjustment. Differences between our results and the previous literature are highlighted via both theoretical derivations and numerical illustrations.
In this paper, we derive the optimal cyclical design of a target benefit (TB) pension plan that balances the sustainability and the benefit stability using the optimal control approach. The optimal design possesses a linear risk sharing structure with cyclical parameters. We observe that the optimal design should be pro-cyclical in the usual circumstances, but counter-cyclical when the pension plan is severely in deficit. We compare the TB plans with the defined benefit plans and conclude that a more aggressive investment strategy should be adopted for the TB plans. In the end, we provide a cautionary note on the optimal control approach in the study of the TB plans.
Target benefit (TB) plans that incorporate intergenerational risk sharing have been demonstrated to be welfare improving over the long term. However, there has been little discussion of the short-term benefits for members in a defined benefit (DB) plan that is transitioning to TB. In this paper, we adopt a two-step approach that is designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the new plan, without unduly sacrificing the benefit security of current retirees. We propose a cohort-based transition plan for reducing intergenerational inequity. Our study is based on simulations using an economic scenario generator with some theoretical results under simplified settings.
Cash balance pension plans with crediting rates linked to long bond yields are relatively common in the United States, but their liabilities are proving very challenging to hedge. In this paper, we consider dynamic hedge strategies using the one-factor and two-factor Hull White models, based on results for the liability valuation from Hardy et al. (2014). The strategies utilise simple hedge portfolios combining one or two zero-coupon bonds, and a money market account. We assess the effectiveness of the strategies by considering how accurately each one would have hedged a 5-year cash balance liability through the past 20 years, using real-world returns and crediting rates, and assuming parameters calibrated using the information available at the time. We show that there is considerable impact of model and parameter uncertainty, with additional, less severe impact from discrete hedging error and transactions costs. Despite this, the dynamic hedge strategies do manage to stabilize surplus substantially, even through the turbulence of the past two decades.
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