Voluntary participation in a defined benefit pension scheme: An option pricing approach

This paper evaluates an American pension option, whereby participants have the option to convert their defined benefit (DB) pension entitlements of a collective scheme to an individual defined contribution (DC) plan, using contingent claim analysis. This
way, we can evaluate the participation decisions under a voluntary collective pension scheme. We approximate the value of this option with risky investment returns by applying Least Squares Monte Carlo simulations as proposed by Longstaff and Schwartz (2001). When more decision dates are included, generations are more willing to participate in the collective pension scheme. If the funding rate falls below a critical value, some young generations will exercise the option. As a result, other generations might be willing to leave as well, which results in a collapse of the collective pension scheme.
In the absence of mandatory participation, it is only a matter of time before such a break down occurs.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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