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Pension risk transfer

Bristol-Myers Squibb to terminate $3.8 billion U.S. pension plan

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., New York, announced it plans a full termination of its $3.8 billion U.S. pension plan and will transfer a portion of its liabilities through a group annuity contract purchased from Athene Annuity and Life Co.

The pharmaceutical company announced in a news release Monday it will terminate the plan effective Feb. 1, distribute lump sums in July and close the group annuity contract purchase in August.

While the news release did not specify the specific populations for the lump sums and annuities, it did say there are 18,000 former employees who have yet to retire, 4,800 active employees, and 1,400 retirees and their beneficiaries in the plan.

State Street Global Advisors is acting as the plan's fiduciary consultant and "selected an Athene group annuity contract that provides an additional safeguard by segregating assets in a separate account dedicated to the payment of benefits to plan participants and their beneficiaries," the news release said.

The U.S. plan has been frozen to benefit accruals since 2009 and the full plan termination represents "the largest" such termination to date "that primarily includes terminated vested and active participants," according to the news release.

As of Dec. 31, the company reported in its most recent 10-K filing a total of $6.749 billion in global pension plan assets and an identical amount in projected benefit obligations.

Company spokeswoman Shelly Mittendorf could not be immediately reached for further information.