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Optimal funding and investment strategies in defined contribution pension plans under Epstein-Zin utility

Blake, D., Wright, D. and Zhang, Y. (2008). Optimal funding and investment strategies in defined contribution pension plans under Epstein-Zin utility (Report No. Actuarial Research Paper No. 186). London, UK: Faculty of Actuarial Science & Insurance, City University London.

Abstract

A defined contribution pension plan allows consumption to be redistributed from the plan member’s working life to retirement in a manner that is consistent with the member’s personal preferences. The plan’s optimal funding and investment strategies therefore depend on the desired pattern of consumption over the lifetime of the member.

We investigate these strategies under the assumption that the member has an Epstein-Zin utility function, which allows a separation between risk aversion and the elasticity of intertemporal substitution, and we also take into account the member’s human capital.

We show that a stochastic lifestyling approach, with an initial high weight in equity-type investments and a gradual switch into bond-type investments as the retirement date approaches is an optimal investment strategy. In addition, the optimal contribution rate each year is not constant over the life of the plan but reflects trade-offs between the desire for current consumption, bequest and retirement savings motives at different stages in the life cycle, changes in human capital over the life cycle, and attitude to risk.

Publication Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Publisher Keywords: defined contribution pension plan, funding strategy, investment strategy, Epstein-Zin utility
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: Cass Business School > Actuarial Science & Insurance > Actuarial Research Reports
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/2317
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