Pension Risk Transfer

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Pension Risk Transfer'

When a defined benefit pension provider offloads some or all of the plan’s risk – e.g.: retirement payment liabilities to former employee beneficiaries. The plan sponsor can do this by offering vested plan participants a lump-sum payment to voluntarily leave the plan, or by negotiating with an insurance company to take on the responsibility for paying benefits. Companies transfer pension risk to avoid earnings volatility – they no longer have to pay for unfounded pension obligations – and to free themselves to concentrate on their core businesses.

BREAKING DOWN 'Pension Risk Transfer'

The total annual cost of a pension plan can be hard to predict due to variables in investment returns, interest rates and the longevity of participants. Large companies had been holdouts to the national trend of transferring pension planning responsibility to employees, but that began to change in 2012, when a range of Fortune 500 players sought to transfer pension risk. This included Ford Motor Co. (F) , Sears, Roebuck & Co., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP) and PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) – which offered former employees an optional lump-sum payment; and General Motors Co. (GM) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) – which purchased annuities for retirees. (See also: risk shifting and transfer of risk.)

RELATED TERMS
  1. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the ...
  2. Reinsurance Assisted Placement

    Insurance business that is developed with the help of a reinsurance ...
  3. Franchise Cover

    A type of reinsurance plan in which the claims from a number ...
  4. Mass Merchandising

    A method of selling insurance policies in which an employer or ...
  5. Reinsurance Ticket

    A notification made by an insurer which discloses the different ...
  6. Shortfall Cover

    A reinsurance agreement used to temporarily reduce gaps in an ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    7 Signs Your Pension Fund Is In Trouble

    Even if you're lucky enough to have a pension plan, you can't assume it'll pay out.
  2. Retirement

    Top 7 Signs Your Pension Fund Is In Trouble

    How to tell if your company’s pension is being depleted - will there be anything left for you?
  3. Insurance

    Which Kind of Life Insurance Is Best for You?

    Parse the pros and cons of different policy types to ensure the best coverage for your needs.
  4. Investing

    Redefining the Stop-Loss

    Using Stop-losses for trading doesn’t mean ‘losing money’, but instead think about the money you'll start saving once you learn how they work.
  5. Retirement

    Infographic: How Much Money Do You Need to Retire in Hawaii?

    In this infographic we break down cost of living in Honolulu, Hawaii in terms of taxes, rent, food and other expenses and offer comparison to the cost of living in New York, Los Angeles, San ...
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Floating Rate Bond

    Explore detailed analysis and information of the iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF, and learn how to use this ETF as a defense against rising interest rates.
  7. Insurance

    Top 5 Car Insurance Companies in Texas

    Examine the five biggest automobile insurance companies operating in the state of Texas, ranked based on market share in the state.
  8. Term

    What are Pension Funds?

    A pension fund is a company-sponsored fund that provides income for employees in retirement.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares DB Commodity Tracking

    Find out about the PowerShares DB Commodity Tracking ETF, and explore a detailed analysis of the fund that tracks 14 distinct commodities using futures contracts.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000

    Find out about the PowerShares FTSE RAFI U.S. 1000 ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the fund that invests in undervalued stocks.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Are spousal Social Security benefits taxable?

    Your spousal Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on your total household income for the year. About one-third ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are spousal Social Security benefits retroactive?

    Spousal Social Security benefits are retroactive. These benefits are quite complicated, and anyone in this type of situation ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why are IRA, Roth IRAs and 401(k) contributions limited?

    Contributions to IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k) and other retirement savings plans are limited by the IRS to prevent the very wealthy ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do you calculate penalties on an IRA or Roth IRA early withdrawal?

    With a few exceptions, early withdrawals from traditional or Roth IRAs generally incur a tax penalty equal to 10% of the ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the Social Security administration responsible for?

    The main responsibility of the U.S. Social Security Administration, or SSA, is overseeing the country's Social Security program. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are Social Security spousal benefits?

    Social Security spousal benefits are partial retirement or disability benefits granted to the spouses of qualifying taxpayers.  Qualifying ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Hot Definitions
  1. Recession

    A significant decline in activity across the economy, lasting longer than a few months. It is visible in industrial production, ...
  2. Bubble Theory

    A school of thought that believes that the prices of assets can temporarily rise far above their true values and that these ...
  3. Stock Market Crash

    A rapid and often unanticipated drop in stock prices. A stock market crash can be the result of major catastrophic events, ...
  4. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  5. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  6. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!