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Corporate pension buyouts exceed $1 billion for eighth straight quarter — report

U.S. corporate pension plan buyouts reached $1.4 billion in the first quarter of 2017, up 31% from the prior year's first quarter, a LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute sales survey found.

It is the second straight year that first-quarter buyout activity exceeded $1 billion; buyouts totaled $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016. The majority of buyout activity traditionally takes place in the third and fourth quarters, according to LIMRA.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, buyout activity totaled $5.7 billion.

“This is only the second time first quarter buyout sales have exceeded $1 billion and marks the highest first-quarter results in at least 15 years,” said Matthew Drinkwater, assistant vice president, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, in a news release. “Generally, buyout sales have strong seasonality. More recently, the institute has observed broader, more consistent sales. Buyout sales have surpassed $1 billion for eight consecutive quarters.”

The LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute surveys the 14 financial services companies that provide all the group annuity contracts for the U.S. for its Group Annuity Risk Transfer Survey every quarter.