Creating Structured Payouts with Tontines

Updated: Mar 8

Tontines are useful vehicles for providing retirement income. Their payouts, however, will necessarily vary as a function of investment returns and the mortality experience of the membership pool. Retirees who place a high value on income stability will desire to minimize the variability of these payouts. This can be accomplished via a large membership pool to minimize the effect of mortality experience volatility and by using immunizing cash-flow matching techniques to minimize the effect of investment volatility. A structured bond ladder can achieve this quite effectively. We show how structured payouts can be achieved using tontines. This capability is perhaps surprising given that the periodic tontine gains (i.e., mortality credits) of a tontine are reinvested, and investment practitioners are taught that reinvested investment income leads to reinvestment risk. Yet, tontine gains have special properties that make them different than investment income in this respect.

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