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The 2015 Pension 40: Amy Kessler

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

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

1. Bruce Rauner
2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
3. Chris Christie
New Jersey
4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers
5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department of Labor
6. Kevin de León
7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico
8. Laurence Fink
9. Rahm Emanuel
10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions
11. John Kline
12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. TreasuryDepartment
13. Damon Silvers
14. Jeffrey Immelt
General Electric Co.
15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution
16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
17. Mark Mullet
18. Terry O'Sullivan
Laborers' International Union of North America
19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates
20. Ted Wheeler
21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund
22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center
23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans
24. Robert O'Keef
Motorola Solutions
25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg
27. Orrin Hatch
28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group
30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees' Retirement System
32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
34. Denise Nappier
35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.
36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems
37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.
38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition
39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department

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