Individual pension risk preference elicitation and collective asset allocation with heterogeneity

Fieke van der Lecq, B.G.C. Dellaert, G.A.G. Alserda, L.A.P. Swinkels

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Collectively organized pension plans must increasingly demonstrate that the risk preferences of their members are adequately reflected in the plans’ asset allocations. However, whether funds should elicit individual members’ risk preferences to achieve this goal, or whether they can rely on other indicators, such as socio-demographics, remains unclear. To address this question, we apply a tailored augmented lottery choice method to elicit individual pension income risk preferences from 7894 members from five different pension plans. The results show that member risk preferences are strongly heterogeneous and can only partially be predicted from individual and plan characteristics. Differences in risk preference im- ply different optimal asset allocations. We find large welfare losses for heterogeneous members in pen- sion plans with their current asset allocation because these allocations are safer than implied by mem- bers’ preferences. We provide a framework for pension plans to gauge the need to elicit risk preferences among their members.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-225
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Banking and Finance
Early online date21 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Risk preference elicitation Composite score Pension fund Asset allocation

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