Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which bundled and sold billions of dollars of mortgage loans, now want to help investors bet on people's deaths.
Pension funds sitting on more than $23 trillion of assets are buying insurance against the risk their members live longer than expected. Banks are looking to earn fees from packaging that risk into bonds and other securities to sell to investors. The hard part: Finding buyers willing to take the other side of bets that might take 20 years or more to play out.
“Banks are increasingly looking to offer derivative solutions,” said Nardeep Sangha, CEO of Abbey Life Assurance Co., a London-based Deutsche Bank unit that helps pension funds manage the risk of retirees living longer than expected. “Making the long maturity of the risks palatable for investors, including sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms and specialist funds, is the challenge.”
As insurers reach the limit of how much pension fund liability they're willing to shoulder, companies such as JPMorgan and Prudential PLC last year set up a trade group aimed at establishing and standardizing a secondary market for so-called longevity risks. They're also developing indexes that measure mortality rates and securities to let pension funds pay fixed premiums to investors in return for coverage against major deviations from projections.
Swiss Reinsurance Co., the second-biggest reinsurer, sold the world's first longevity bond in December in what it called a “test case” to sell risk to the capital markets.