An analysis of the effects of longevity risk on pension planning in Zimbabwe
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This study is about the analysis of the effects of longevity risk on pension planning in Zimbabwe with a particular focus on defined benefit pension schemes. A defined benefit scheme is an arrangement whereby the pension benefits are pre-determined by a formula which is a function of service and salary. The study adopted a quantitative methodology to achieve the following objectives: a) Establish how uncertainty regarding future mortality and life expectancy outcomes would affect the funding position of defined benefit pension schemes in Zimbabwe. b) Establish the link between mortality and life expectancy in Zimbabwe. c) Check the adequacy of the existing assets to meet the liabilities of the pension schemes in Zimbabwe. d) Determine the contribution rates that would be appropriate for the future. e) Recommend possible approaches to forecast mortality and life expectancy. The study considered the research topical given the inability of Zimbabwean defined benefit pension schemes to meet their liabilities. A sample of 128 participants was drawn from randomly selected active employees who are member of pension funds. Data were gathered using a questionnaire. The study was interested in testing the proposition that mortality is improving in Zimbabwe. The study found that Technological Advancement, Education and Lifestyle and other factors which include the Millennium Development Goals and Government interventions are the major contributors to mortality improvements. Generally there are mortality improvements in Zimbabwe. Where there is mortality improvement, there is longevity risk which has got direct impact on defined benefit pension funds. The research objectives were fulfilled and the following recommendations were made: (a) Indexation of pension benefits to life expectancy in order to partially offset the impact of longevity. (b) Policymakers are recommended to set up a Continuous Mortality Investigations Unit within Zimbabwe. (c) The Regulator of pension funds is recommended to put in place mechanisms of ensuring that pension funds and annuity providers fully account for improvements in mortality.