U.S. corporate pension plan buyout sales totaled $5 billion in the second quarter, a LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute sales survey found.
The amount for the quarter was well above the $1 billion in activity in the first quarter. A total of 87 buyout contracts were sold in the second quarter, compared with 42 contracts in the first quarter. It is the second highest total recorded for the second quarter of a calendar year. The institute recorded $8.3 billion in buyout volume in the second quarter of 2018.
Mark Paracer, assistant research director at the Secure Retirement Institute, said in a news release the increase in activity was expected, and the institute currently projects a total of $25 billion to $30 billion in volume for the year.
"As the economy continues to recover with strong market returns, we expect to see more employers explore their derisking options to mitigate their pension liability," Mr. Paracer said.
Significant transactions in the second quarter include Sonoco Products Co., Hartsville, S.C., entering into an agreement to purchase group annuity contracts from Athene Annuity & Life Co. and Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Co. of New York to transfer about $900 million in U.S. pension plan liabilities.
LIMRA surveyed the 18 financial services companies that provide all the group annuity contracts for U.S. corporate pension plans.