From:                                         BCG Pension Risk Consultants <>

Sent:                                           Monday, August 27, 2018 2:18 PM

To:                                               Terry McCauley

Subject:                                     The Pension Insider April 2017




The Pension Insider


The Pension Insider is a monthly newsletter developed for individuals who work in the pension arena. The Pension Insider was created to share ideas, success stories, coming events and industry specific articles.



April, 2017- Volume 70, Edition 1



Most Employers Interested in Pension Risk Transfer March 07, 2017 LIMRA

A new LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research study finds 8 in 10 employers with a traditional defined benefit pension plan are interested in pension risk transfer (PRT).  Since 2014, there has been a significant shift in plan sponsors interest in PRT. Today, 4 in 10 plan sponsors are very interested in PRT, a 10 percentage-point increase from the results of a 2014 Institute study of DB plan sponsors. 

A pension risk transfer allows an employer to transfer all or a portion of its pension liability to an insurer.  In doing so, an employer can remove the liability from its balance sheet and reduce the volatility of the plan’s funded status.

Institute research shows PRT buy-out sales totaled $13.7 billion in 2016, almost one percent higher than prior year and the second highest annual total recorded.

For those employers with DB plans who are not interested in PRT products, lack of knowledge is the top reason given (40 percent). Another quarter say that they address their pension risk through alternative means. The most common alternative to PRT is liability-driven investing (LDI), which seeks to limit the risk associated with market volatility by precisely matching assets to liabilities. While this strategy can lower investment risk, plan sponsors would still have to address other risks (for example mortality and fiduciary risks) and to pay Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) premiums. Click Here to continue reading


More Corporate Pension Plans Transferring Risk, Milliman reports April 13, 2017 04:09 AM

Despite fluctuations, the largest pension plans ended 2016 with their funded ratios little changed.

The 100 largest US corporate pension plans saw their funded status drop to 81.2% for 2016, from 81.9% a year earlier, according to actuarial firm Milliman. The $21.7 billion drop in funding resulted from a rise in projected benefit obligations, partially balanced by a rise in the market value of plan assets.

The 100 plans also witnessed quite a bit of volatility in 2016, Seattle-based Milliman reported. “Investment performance exceeded expectations, with the 100 largest US pensions experiencing returns of 8.4% - compare that to 0.8% the year prior,” said Zorast Wadia, an actuary and co-author of the pension funding study, “but the volatile interest rate environment saw the discount rate plummet by 30 basis points. In 2016, these dynamics resulted in a funded ratio that oscillated back and forth for most of the year before the post-election bump. The end result was a funded ratio of 81.2% - not that far off from where we’ve been at the end of 2015 and 2014.”

Three factors buoyed the 100 largest corporate plans. One was an investment return of 8.4% for 2016, outperforming expectations. Another was employer contributions, which rose 38% from 2015 levels. A third was a decline in estimated life expectancies for the second year in a row, which helped cut projected benefit obligations at several of these companies.

Some companies are planning to adopt an accounting change to cut their pension expenses for fiscal year 2017. This entails moving to spot interest rates that are based on the yield curves of high-quality corporate bonds. For 2017, 46 companies in the Milliman study said they intended to adopt this practice, compared to 37 companies for 2016.

Plan sponsors also boosted their engagement in strategies to transfer pension risk to insurance companies. Pension risk transfers, together with pension risk settlement payments to former plan participants who are not yet retired, rose to $13.6 billion in 2016, from $11.6 billion in 2015 and included such companies as Westrock, United Technologies, PepsiCo, Hewlett-Packard, International Paper, and Verizon. By doing so, plan sponsors also cut down on their required premium payments to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Link to Article


News from the Annual Enrolled Actuaries Meeting 

BCG's iWatch drawing winner is Lee Kaminetzky, Pension Actuaries LLC

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ANNUITY RATES Standard Pension Closeout/Terminal Funding Case Rates:

(No lump sums, no disability or unusual provisions)

2.38%    RETIREES
2.63%    TERM VESTED
2.73%    ACTIVES

Annuity Purchase Rates as of: April 17, 2017



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