Pension Risk Transfer agreement covers approximately $1.9 billion in pension obligations


MetLife to provide annuity benefits to approximately 20,000 Lockheed Martin retirees and beneficiaries. (Credit: Rodrigo.Argenton/Wikimedia Commons)

MetLife, Inc. (MetLife) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) to provide annuity benefits through its subsidiary, Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, to approximately 20,000 retirees and beneficiaries in Lockheed Martin’s defined benefit (DB) pension plans, representing pension obligations of approximately $1.9 billion.

“We are pleased to have been selected to provide guaranteed lifetime income to Lockheed Martin’s retirees, including benefits to the retirees’ spouses and beneficiaries,” said Graham Cox, executive vice president and head of Retirement & Income Solutions at MetLife. “MetLife’s long history and expertise in this market gives our clients confidence that retiree benefits are well-protected and risks are well-managed.”

Lockheed Martin, through its master retirement trust, purchased a group annuity contract from Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company in December 2019. The transaction will not change the amount of the monthly pension benefit received by the corporation’s retirees and beneficiaries. Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, rather than Lockheed Martin, will be responsible for making these monthly payments. No action is needed by retirees or beneficiaries. Lockheed Martin and MetLife will provide details to retired participants and beneficiaries whose ongoing payments will be made by Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company.

“This agreement will allow Lockheed Martin to focus on its core mission and mitigate financial risk associated with market volatility, while leveraging MetLife’s expertise managing transferred pension liabilities to ensure a seamless transition for retirees and beneficiaries included in the transaction,” said Ken Possenriede, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Lockheed Martin.

2020 is likely to be another robust year for pension risk transfer (PRT). MetLife’s 2019 Pension Risk Transfer Poll projects that the market will continue to grow at a healthy pace. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of DB plan sponsors with de-risking goals intend to completely divest all of their company’s DB plan liabilities at some point in the future, and 33 percent intend to do so in the next five years.

MetLife, through its subsidiaries, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, is a market leader in the pension risk transfer industry, managing benefit payments of more than $2 billion a year for more than 700,000 annuitants. Overall, MetLife was responsible for $47 billion of transferred pension liabilities as of Sept. 30, 2019 and has been in the pension business for nearly 100 years, having issued its first group annuity contract in 1921 to fund a defined benefit plan.

Source: Company Press Release