The Pensions, Benefits and Social Security Section (PBSS) is one of six special interest sections of the International Actuarial Association (IAA). Brnic Van Wyk, a member of the PBSS Board, details the key components and objectives of the Section

Created in November 2003, the PBSS is a special interest section of the IAA. It serves actuaries around the world with personal, professional, educational, or research interests in social protection as well as actuaries with interests in the commercial, social, and public policy issues concerning the provision of pensions and other benefits.

The PBSS is one of six special interest sections of the IAA. It is governed by a Board of Directors voted in by the membership, who oversee the rules of the section.

PBSS (and other sections) membership differs from the Council and Committees of the IAA. Council and Committee membership is a function of the various Full Membership Associations (FMA) like the Australian Institute of Actuaries. Section membership however is not linked to FMAs. Actuaries join the PBSS in their personal capacity. As a result, the PBSS membership is made up of a collection of individuals spread across the world who all have a specific interest in pension and social security matters.

The scope of the PBSS covers public programs and private pension plans, mutual benefit organisations, commercial insurance and pension company contracts, annuities, share options, and other employee benefit provisions.

PBSS provides a platform for discussing technical and public policy issues, with an emphasis on how to best leverage the international character of its membership. Not only do PBSS members generate research, but they also act as catalysts for building the intellectual capital of the profession.

This diverse section also encourages non-actuaries with a public policy and research interest in social protection matters to join the PBSS and participate in its activities, thus enriching the Section’s discussions and deliberations.

The nine formal objectives of the PBSS are recorded on its website, which are to:

  1. contribute towards the development of a growing role for actuaries internationally and in individual countries in the fields of pensions, employee benefits and social security;

  2. provide information and development opportunities for individual actuaries working in or interested in the fields of pensions, employee benefits and social security;

  3. promote and facilitate an international exchange of views, advice, research and practical information among actuaries and other experts involved with public and private pensions, social security, employee benefits and related public policy issues;

  4. organise Seminars, Colloquia and other meetings, on-line exchanges, websites and publications, and links to other organisations and IAA Sections;

  5. engage in other activities that promote the role and activities of pensions, employee benefits and social security actuaries within and outside the profession, support formal IAA activities with a pensions, employee benefits or social security content and interact with pensions and social security committees of IAA member actuarial organisations and other IAA Sections;

  6. encourage and promote actuarial and related research in the fields of pensions, employee benefits and social security and to develop and grow the intellectual capital of the worldwide actuarial profession in this area;

  7. exploit the opportunities provided by the website to promulgate relevant information regarding the activities of the section, and other materials of interest to pension, employee benefits and social security actuaries;

  8. focus on topics of interest internationally and to bring a big picture perspective to actuaries working in or interested in the fields of pensions, employee benefits and social security; and

  9. help to get the work of actuaries known and their voice heard in international debates and discussion in the relevant fields.


Benefits and activities of the PBSS include the following:

  • PBSS members receive monthly a reference list of papers that have been recently published in diverse aspects of pensions and social security.

  • PBSS created an electronic library of pension, employee benefits and social security papers available to members.

  • As an added benefit, members receive a copy of the ASTIN Bulletin — The Journal of the IAA three times per year.

  • Other than in years with an International Congress of Actuaries, the PBSS organizes an annual colloquium in cooperation with a host actuarial association, sometimes jointly with other IAA Sections. These colloquia are generally held in exotic locations such as Mexico, British Columbia and South Africa, as they are hosted by the local actuarial association. The 2022 Colloquium will be co-sponsored by the Actuarial Society of Hong Kong.

  • Every year the PBSS Board awards a certificate and $1000 CAD prize for the Best Paper published in the ASTIN Bulletin by a PBSS members on the scope of pensions and social security.

  • Cash prizes of $1000 CAD are awarded at every PBSS Colloquium for PBSS members who contribute with the best Practical and Theoretical Papers in the event.

  • Regular webcasts are arranged to explore specific topic areas. Prize winners are invited to present at such webinars too.

  • PBSS provides financial assistance to support its members through research grants. In 2022 up to two grants of $5000 CAD each will be awarded.

Joining the PBSS (or any other Section of the IAA) is done via the IAA website. Once registered, the ongoing annual subscription fee can be paid as part of the normal Actuaries Institute membership renewal process.

PBSS membership gives actuaries exposure to a global network of individuals that concern themselves with solving exactly the same problems faced in Australia. It is highly recommended for those actuaries working in superannuation, retirement, social security and related fields.

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