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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Prudential takes on $1.4 billion of risk from Bristol-Myers

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America’s second-largest life insurer has agreed to take on $1.4 billion in U.S. pension obligations from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which announced it will purchase a group annuity contract from Prudential Financial for approximately 8,000 U.S. retirees and their beneficiaries. 

This echoes a move earlier this week from Motorola Solutions, Inc., which transferred $3.1 billion of pension liabilities to Prudential Financial

“Prudential currently manages assets for 24 of the largest 25 U.S. corporate DB plans,” said Scott Gaul, senior vice president and head of distribution for Prudential’s pension risk transfer business. ”We’re honored that Bristol-Myers Squibb has chosen Prudential to deliver benefits payments to their retirees.”

According to the official statement from Prudential, there will be no change to the monthly retirement benefit payments currently received by retirees and their beneficiaries. All other plan participants will stay in the company’s plan, which is well-funded to ensure benefit payments to future retirees and beneficiaries. 

As part of this transaction, Bristol-Myers’ Pension Committee turned to Fiduciary Counselors Inc., an independent fiduciary services firm, to represent the plan and all of its participants and their beneficiaries, including those remaining in the plan, to objectively select the safest available annuity as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor standards. 

According to Bloomberg News, the deal cuts Bristol-Myers pension obligation to $3.6 billion from $5 billion.

Employers such as Verizon Communications Inc., General Motors Co. and Motorola Solutions Inc. have turned to Prudential to reduce their pension liabilities. Firms have offloaded the obligations as low interest rates make it more difficult to generate returns on money set aside to cover future payouts.

“The transaction reduces risk in the plan and better manages the ongoing variations in cost associated with its maintenance,” Bristol-Myers said in a statement.


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