Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hey Gang, Let's Do a Tontine!

A quick search of the blog (somewhat surprisingly) turned up very few tontine references with 2013's "William Shakespeare: Annuity Beneficiary" being the most relevant to today's link:
More accurately annuitant and more accurately still annuity-tontine-hybrid annuitant. But I didn't think anyone but our actuary readers would click an "annuity-tontine-hybrid annuitant" headline....
If anyone beyond the actuaries is still with me, here's a more interesting story from Dan McCrum at FT Alphaville:

Someone is wrong on the internet: tontine tokens
Tontines are an idea which occasionally bobs up in the debate about how the world can save for retirement. Also known as death pools, they help address longevity by dispersing the savings of the dead to those still clinging on.

For instance, here's a paper suggesting a continuously liquidating mutual fund as a modern update. Tontines have been popular in the past as there is a lottery-like quality to surviving into very old age.

As insurance products, however, they had problems with fraud, along with concerns about the incentives to boost payouts by helping fellow members off the mortal coil. Tontines were largely banned in the US a century ago, hundreds of years after the Brits outlawed them.

Defined benefit pension systems essentially internalise the death pool process, but a switch to individual retirement accounts raises a problem of what happens when people run out of money. Annuities, which provide a lifetime income purchased from an insurance company, can be expensive.

Maybe technology could help, which is usually the point when people for whom Blockchain is the answer to all questions chime in.

Which brings us to the Tontine Trust, which appears to have appropriated the Vulcan salute "live long and prosper" among the grab bag of hopes and dreams used to justify a mooted initial coin offering of Ton$.

Problems start with various inappropriate uses of the present tense, as if the tontine trusts are already in existence. Here's a breezy video from the how it works section:...
... "TonCards can be used at more than 40m merchants worldwide". This is wrong. The aspiration is issuing banks which belong to the Visa and/or Mastercard networks will issue TonCards at some point in the future....
....MUCH MORE and the comments reflect well on the informed, erudite and good-looking audience.

We do have another semi-relevant tontine mention, August 2017's "Hey Kids, Wanna Do An Initial Coin Offering But Need Working Capital Until the ICO?":
This will not end well....
... I think I'd be more comfortable entering into a tontine with a bunch of homicidal cannibals.
And the Hey Gang/Hey Kids trope?
-Babes in Arms, 1939
Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland
Ms Garland did another movie that year that is probably more familiar to our younger readers, something about a Wizard.