Pension funds on both sides of the Atlantic offloaded $14.5 billion in liabilities through pension risk transfer deals this month alone, including two huge longevity swap announcements.
Most of the action took place with U.K.-based plans, but in the U.S., General Electric Co., Boston, announced it transferred $1.7 billion of its U.S. GE Pension Plan obligations to retirement services firm Athene Holding Ltd. through an annuity buyout.
As part of the transfer, Athene will provide payments to roughly 70,000 plan participants receiving less than $360 per month through one of the firm's subsidiaries, a news release said.
The pension risk transfer will not change the amount of the monthly payments being made to participants and will not affect the plan's funded status.
This transaction follows GE's announcement earlier this month that it had voluntarily prefunded $2.5 billion of estimated minimum ERISA GE Pension Plan funding requirements for 2021, 2022 and into 2023.
GE had $56.4 billion in U.S. pension fund assets as of Sept. 30. The company's U.S. plan for salaried employees will be frozen effective Jan. 1, as previously announced.
Last December, GE distributed lump sums totaling $2.65 billion to former employees who accepted an offer made in October 2019.