De-Risking Pension Plans Revisited – 2015

Source: John G. Kilgour, Compensation Benefits Review, Vol. 46 no. 5-6, October/December 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 changed the way in which the value of lump sum distributions is calculated. When the new method was fully implemented in 2012, it triggered a flood of de-risking activity by sponsors of defined benefit pension plans via one-time lump sum distributions, group annuity contracts with insurance companies and liability driven investing. Underlying these developments were a number of economic and demographic factors including a rising equity market, low interest rates, increased Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insurance premiums and a declining number of active participants. These forces are still there. Indeed, they have strengthened due to recent legislation (MAP-21 in 2012, BBA in 2013 and HATFA in 2014). In addition, a number of legal questions have been resolved by the Verizon Communications decision of 2014 and new mortality tables have just been published by the Society of Actuaries. The combination of these developments indicate that 2015 will be another big year for pension plan sponsors to transfer pension risk to participants through lump sum distributions and to insurance companies through group annuity contracts.