Implied Rates of Return on Structured Settlements

In this article, Derek Aldridge and Christopher Bruce contrast our recommended discount rates with those used by one important set of sophisticated investors, the insurance companies who write structured settlements. They find that our recommended rates are greater than those being offered by these companies, suggesting that our rates may be too high.

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The Discount Rate Simplified

In this article, which was written collaboratively by Christopher Bruce, Laura Weir, Kelly Rathje, and Derek Aldridge, we begin by setting out a number of criteria that we believe should be met when selecting the discount rate. We ultimately conclude that a portfolio of Government of Canada bonds of varying maturity dates meets our criteria. We then argue that forecasts of Government of Canada bond rates that are based on historical statistics are unreliable for many reasons. Finally, we argue that the rates of return that are currently available on government bonds represent reliable predictions of future rates. Short-term interest rates can perform this role because they represent rates that are actually available currently; and long-term rates reflect the forecasts that have been made by sophisticated financial institutions that have substantial investments in the market.

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The Discount Rate Revisited (Spring 2008)

This article reports on our latest survey of discount rates. We conclude that no changes to our existing discount rate assumptions are warranted, though a reduction in our long-term rate may be necessary in the future if the observed long-term rates remain significantly lower than our assumed rate.

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Forecasting the long-term interest rate on Government of Canada bonds: “market-based” versus “conservative” investment

In the article Christopher Bruce examines a subtle issue relating to interest rates. He explains the difference between the interest rates realised by buying bonds and holding them to maturity, and selling and re-buying before maturity. These approaches will result in different estimates of historical interest rates.

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The Discount Rate Revisited (Summer 2006)

In this article Derek Aldridge reports on our latest survey of discount rates, and outlines the revisions we have made to our standard assumptions. We conclude that some small changes to our short-term discount rate assumption are warranted, though we have not changed our assumptions concerning long-term rates. The overall impact on our calculations will be negligible in most cases.

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The Discount Rate Revisited

In this article we review the recent evidence – both statistical and theoretical – concerning the discount rate (or real rate of interest). We review a number of different interest rates for each quarter since 1995 and find that every series has trended downward virtually continuously over the entire period. We then review the theoretical arguments that have been put forward to explain why this trend has been observed; and ask whether it is better to base a forecast of future rates of interest on the rates that are currently being observed or on averages of historical rates. We conclude that it would be inappropriate to rely on historical figures and instead we recommend use of multiple rates, based on the rates currently available for a variety of short- and long-term government bonds.

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Selecting the Discount Rate – An Update

This article extends the work done by us in issues 5(3) and 6(4) of The Expert Witness, we conclude that it would be appropriate to revise our existing 2½ and 3½ percent two-part forecast of real interest rates. We propose to use a rate of 2¼ percent for the first five years of all calculations. For all subsequent years we propose to use a rate of 3¼ percent.

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Selecting the Discount Rate

In this article we begin by providing clear definitions of a number of fundamental concepts. These include: real interest rate; nominal interest rate; discount rate; real return bonds; and core rate of inflation. We then summarise the recent statistical data for various measures of inflation and interest rates in Canada. Finally, we use those data to calculate the “real interest” rate and to forecast a long-run discount rate. We conclude from this analysis that that rate appears to be 4.0 percent. However, as there has been some recent volatility in interest rates, we propose to revisit our forecast a year from now.

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What is a “Discount Rate”?

In this article Christopher Bruce provides a simple introduction to a concept which litigators must use every day – the discount rate, or “real rate of interest.” This article is the first in a series which will discuss the underlying concepts employed in the derivation of the lump sum values of future streams of losses.

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