Athene Holding Ltd. will pay a $45 million penalty to New York state for state insurance law violations related to the pension risk transfer business of subsidiary Athene Annuity & Life Co.
The penalty was assessed by the New York State Department of Financial Services, which said Athene Annuity & Life Co. solicited and completed 14 unauthorized pension risk transfer transactions with New York-based corporate pension plan sponsors, according to a news release from the department Monday. The subsidiary is not licensed as an insurer in New York.
Corporate pension plan sponsors typically purchase group annuity contracts from insurance companies to transfer liabilities to the insurer.
"Protection of New Yorkers' retirement plans is more important than ever in this vulnerable economy. The DFS license has always served to safeguard retirement investments," said Linda A. Lacewell, superintendent of financial services, in the news release. "Unlicensed insurance activity puts retirement assets at risk, and that's why we won't tolerate it."
As part of its agreement with the department, Athene will transfer the handling of pension risk transfer transactions to its New York-based subsidiary, Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Co. of New York.
"Athene is pleased to resolve this matter. ... We worked collaboratively with the NYSDFS to address their concerns, which also relate to the industry at large, and with mutually agreed upon guidelines for structuring transactions, we are confident in our ability to continue operating as one of the leaders in the pension risk transfer industry," Athene said in an emailed statement.