Justin Owens, CFA, FSA, EA

Justin Owens

Director, Investment Strategy & Solutions

B.S., Actuarial Science, Brigham Young University
Fellow, Society of Actuaries
Fellow, Conference of Consulting Actuaries
CFA Charterholder, CFA Institute
Enrolled Actuary, JBEA


Justin Owens is a director in Russell Investments’ Investment Strategy & Solutions team and is based in Seattle. As a subject matter expert on defined benefit plans, Justin regularly publishes research covering a variety of topics related to risk management and investment strategy for DB plan sponsors. Justin is also responsible for the completion and presentation of strategic reviews (asset / liability studies) and risk-budgeting exercises for clients and prospects.

Justin ensures that strategic reviews are completed in compliance with current actuarial funding laws and accounting standards, performed using industry best practices. As part of the strategic review process, Justin educates clients on the impact of current pension industry regulations and trends, including best practices for both funding and investment strategies.

Prior to joining Russell in 2012, Justin worked as a consulting actuary for a large actuarial firm. There he consulted with clients on a range of retirement issues. Specific areas of expertise included funding and accounting valuations on corporate and multiemployer defined benefit and retiree medical plans; asset / liability forecasting; actuarial assumption reviews; and benefits administration. Justin also held training and recruiting responsibilities.

Justin currently sits on the Investment Section Council for the Society of Actuaries and volunteers as an exam writer for the Investment Risk Management exam for fellowship-level actuarial candidates.

Published works include:


Defined benefit plan terminations: Funding and investment strategies

October 2022
Thinking of terminating your DB plan? How should the decision affect your funding and investment strategies? Read how to avoid pitfalls and make the best use of available resources.

$20 billion club: 2022 update

March 2022
How did the $20 billion club fare in 2021? Did your funded status improve by the same percentage as theirs? Take a look at the trends this group offers the wider corporate pension community.

Why non-profits should consider private credit

January 2022
Can private credit provide higher returns and less volatility? Check out what a recent case study reveals.

Risk transfer options and considerations

May 2020
Are risk transfer solutions appropriate for your organization? Discover options to determine if it fits well within your long-term risk management goals.

Investment strategy implications of a pension risk transfer

May 2020
How should the risk transfer process be reflected in your asset allocation and strategy decisions? Read our 3 key considerations.

Strategic asset allocation reviews for DB plan sponsors

April 2020

This paper focuses on the strategic asset allocation review process and how it assists the sponsor in setting an appropriate asset allocation for the DB plan and its beneficiaries.


$20 billion club: Liabilities and assets peak in 2019 as funded status continues to stagnate

February 2020
How did 2019 fare for the $20 billion club? The group of 20 publicly listed U.S. corporations with pension liabilities in excess of $20 billion offer a window into the trends affecting the wider corporate pension community.

Return requirements for DB plan portfolios

August 2019
A variety of objectives and circumstances will dictate return needs. Let us help explain and breakdown the return requirements for defined benefit plan portfolios.

A guide to pension plan hibernation

May 2019
Don’t ignore the hibernation stage. The hibernation stage can serve as a stepping stone to plan termination that reduces risk and cost. See our guide.

Simplifying the LDI story: Focusing on the three DB hedge ratio levers

February 2017
An investment strategy that is conducive to maintaining a fully funded status. See how three DB hedge ratio levers can help mitigate some of the plan’s risks.

LDI for DB plans with lump sum benefit payment options

July 2015
While offering lump sums adds an extra layer of complexity to an LDI strategy, this should not dissuade sponsors from pursuing LDI strategies for their plans. With a proper understanding and appropriate adjustments, LDI can reduce interest rate risk and help sponsors meet their objectives for their plans and the plan’s participants.

LDI for cash balance plans

June 2014
This Russell Investments Practice Note answers how cash balance retirement plan sponsorships and DB plan sponsor trends align with each other to meet plan sponsors’ risk-management objectives.