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Athene inks high flying pension transaction

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Bermuda-based Athene Holding Ltd has closed a record $4.9 billion pension risk transfer transaction with global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin.

Athene, a financial services company specialising in retirement solutions, said under the terms of the transaction Lockheed Martin transferred $4.9 billion in pension obligations to Athene.

The company said its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Athene Annuity and Life Company and Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company of New York, have agreed to provide annuity benefits for approximately 18,000 participants of Lockheed Martin's pension plan who are currently receiving benefits.

Athene said the transaction is the second pension risk transfer transaction Lockheed Martin has signed with the company, following a transaction in 2018 whereby Athene insured approximately $800 million in pension obligations for more than 9,000 of Lockheed Martin's retirees and their beneficiaries.

Sean Brennan, executive vice president, Pension Risk Transfer and Reinsurance at Athene, said: "We are pleased to have again been selected by Lockheed Martin to partner with them and help further reduce the company's outstanding pension risk.

"As a leader in the pension risk transfer market, Athene has a track record of completing large-scale transactions that help plan sponsors meet their pension obligations while providing income security for their plan participants and their spouses and beneficiaries.

“Given Athene's deep expertise in the long-term management of retirement benefits, the plan participants covered by this transaction can be confident they will receive the same pension benefit, on the same schedule, as what they currently receive."

Under the agreement, AAIA and AANY have each committed to issuing a group annuity contract to Lockheed Martin and individual annuity certificates to applicable participants.

Bill Wheeler, president of Athene, said: "Amid a backdrop of continuing macro recovery, we are seeing companies place increasing emphasis on reducing pension risk in order to focus on core business.

"Athene remains well-positioned to provide plan sponsors with customised solutions that achieve their desired de-risking objectives while ensuring the financial security of their plan participants.

“This transaction with Lockheed Martin represents Athene's largest single PRT transaction to date, demonstrating our leading market position as a preferred provider of retirement solutions for institutions and individuals alike."

The company said this large-scale transaction comes as the US pension risk transfer market has seen a significant increase in transaction volume beginning in the second half of 2020 and continuing into 2021. The pace of industry activity suggests that 2021 will be the highest year on record for the US market.

Athene said it utilised its strategic capital vehicle, Athene Reinsurance Co-investment, to support the completion of this transaction.

The company said it is a leader within the pension risk transfer industry, partnering with plan sponsors and intermediaries on more than $19 billion of transactions to support more than 300,000 annuitants since entering the market.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacturing, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Bill Wheeler, president of Athene Holding (File photograph)

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Published August 05, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated August 05, 2021 at 7:53 am)

Athene inks high flying pension transaction

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