The market is extremely buoyant and we expect that to continue for some time. Only a small portion of existing corporate pension liabilities, roughly 5%, has been de-risked through transfers to insurers. Our recent MetLife 2017 Pension Risk Transfer Poll found that nearly nine out of 10 plan sponsors (87%) expect PRT activity in 2017 to be at least as, or even more, robust than the record $14 billion we saw in 2016.
The costs and complexities of running a plan are making it exceedingly more difficult for plan sponsors to manage their pension liabilities. In our survey, the two top catalysts for risk transfer cited by plan sponsors were increasing insurance premiums assessed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and new mortality tables issued by the IRS. Given these market dynamics, we would expect to see significant flow of corporate pension liabilities through the PRT pipeline over the next decade.