Betting on death

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: In London, investors will soon be able to bet on changes in the average human lifespan. Stephen Beard has more on the "death derivative."


STEPHEN BEARD: Banks like BNP Paribas are developing the new securities.

Broadly speaking, they'll work like other futures contracts, except their value will fluctuate according to human mortality rates.

It's a form of insurance. They'll allow pension companies to insure against the extra cost of their pensioners living longer.

The new market could be worth trillions. But New York may lose out to London because of America's tougher regulations, says analyst Justin Urquart Stewart.

JUSTIN URQUART STEWART: It is for New York to win and New York's regulators to try to make sure they wish to participate in this business. It's going to be huge, but unless New York does get its act together , then I'm afraid it will lose out again.

This week the US Treasury Secretary warned that American regulations are undermining American markets.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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