The 2015 Pension 40: Amy Kessler

No. 39 Amy Kessler, Head of Longevity Reinsurance / Prudential Financial

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< The 2015 Pension 40: The Long Climb

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39
Amy Kessler
Head of Longevity Reinsurance / Prudential Financial
Last year’s rank: 21

Amy Kessler has long been an evangelist for risk transfer transactions in which pensions shift their liabilities to an insurance company like her employer, Prudential Financial. Now she believes her work is paying off. While she remains an advocate for pension funds to de-risk their portfolios, she is also pushing for individuals to understand their own longevity risk and what it means for their financial plans. “Ten years ago no one really understood the longevity risk that pension funds were facing,” says Kessler, 48. “Today people actually get it. People are living longer lives, and that’s wonderful, but it’s also a very big financial obligation for companies sponsoring pension plans. And for folks not in pension plans, it’s a very big financial consideration as they prep for their own retirement.” This year Timken Co. and Kimberly-Clark Corp. bought group annuities from Pru, which also signed its first deal to provide longevity reinsurance to the U.K.’s Pension Insurance Corp. Kessler is working with companies to layer a longevity-risk strategy on top of what the industry calls liability-driven investments, which are designed to manage volatility and risk. Without a longevity-risk strategy, she explains, companies aren’t building in enough upside to cover people’s longer lives. Kessler’s global perspective is helping U.S. companies look beyond their domestic peers. “There are global multinational companies that are de-risking, so now activity in Europe becomes directly relevant to anyone in that peer group,” she says. “We’re trying to help people see the connection between their corporate finance good health and their pension fund.” Kessler spent 17 years in capital markets at Bear Stearns Cos. and Lazard. She joined Pru in 2009 and has led $34 billion in international reinsurance transactions for organizations including British Airways and Rolls-Royce Holdings. Last year she worked on the largest-ever longevity-risk transfer, for the BT Pension Scheme. Kessler is now leading the launch of reinsurance for pensions in Canada and the Netherlands.


The 2015 Pension 40

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1. Bruce Rauner
Illinois

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2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation

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3. Chris Christie
New Jersey

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4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers

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5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department of Labor

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6. Kevin de León
California

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7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico

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8. Laurence Fink
BlackRock

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9. Rahm Emanuel
Chicago

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10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions

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11. John Kline
Minnesota

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12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. TreasuryDepartment

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13. Damon Silvers
AFL-CIO

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14. Jeffrey Immelt
General Electric Co.

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15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution

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16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.

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17. Mark Mullet
Washington

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18. Terry O’Sullivan
Laborers’ International Union of North America

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19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates

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20. Ted Wheeler
Oregon

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21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund

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22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center

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23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans

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24. Robert O’Keef
Motorola Solutions

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25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley

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26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg

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27. Orrin Hatch
Utah

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28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University

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29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group

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30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business

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31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees’ Retirement System

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32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services

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33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research

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34. Denise Nappier
Connecticut

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35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.

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36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

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37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.

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38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition

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39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial

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40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department


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