Pension Indicator Updated for May 31, 2024

Pension Risk Transfer News

By: Brian Wunderle, Managing Director, Clearstead

Global equity markets rallied in May as the S&P 500 climbed to another record high. Federal Reserve Chairman Powell reiterated the Fed’s 2% inflation target, but stated additional interest rate hikes were unnecessary to curb inflation. The Fed’s assurance to markets, moderate economic growth, and healthy corporate earnings helped drive financial markets after a volatile April. 

Corporate pension plan funded status is estimated to have increased 0.4% in May. The change in funded status was driven from a 2.2% increase in asset value offset by a 1.8% increase in liability value1. Positive returns of most asset classes year-to-date have been the biggest driver of improvement in pension funding. 

Given many pension plans are at the healthiest funding level in many years there have been many Plan Sponsors taking a variety of actions to capitalize on a position of strength. Examples of those include pension risk transfer, increasing liability hedging exposure, and moving down their asset allocation glidepath.

Recently, there have been notable lawsuits filed related to pension risk transfer transactions. Two lawsuits were filed by retirees against the plan sponsor AT&T and State Street Global Advisors, alleging a violation of fiduciary duties. Of note, the Department of Labor had been tasked under the SECURE Act 2.0 with conducting a review of Interpretive Bulletin 95-1, which instructs plan sponsors as to factors which constitute a prudent selection process for selecting service providers regarding PRTs. It will be important for Sponsors to watch out for this guidance by the Department of Labor to have a process in place for these transactions. Both USI and Clearstead have experience in helping Sponsors evaluate risk transfer options and leading the fiduciary process to identify appropriate solutions for Plans. Please contact us to learn more about this process.

As always, thanks for reading, and drop us a comment on how we're doing.

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For more information on the development of the Pension Indicator, please see our Disclosure document.

Information provided in this article is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as investment advice. Performance data represents past performance. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

1Bloomberg

Year to Date Investment Mix (Net)
Plan TypeGrowthBalancedLDI LiteLDI
Frozen (for several years) 8.0% 6.5% 4.2% 0.9%
 Recently Frozen 10.1% 8.5% 6.2% 2.8%
 Ongoing Traditional 12.3% 10.7% 8.4% 5.0%
 Cash Balance 8.6% 7.0% 4.8% 1.5%
Month-over-Month Investment Mix (Net)
Plan TypeGrowthBalancedLDI LiteLDI
 Frozen (for several years) 1.1% 0.9% 1.0% 0.9%
 Recently Frozen 0.6% 0.5% 0.6% 0.5%
 Ongoing Traditional 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
 Cash Balance 0.9% 0.8% 0.8% 0.7%
12-Month Change Investment Mix (Net)
Plan TypeGrowthBalancedLDI LiteLDI
 Frozen (for several years) 17.2% 14.0% 10.8% 6.5%
 Recently Frozen 18.7% 15.5% 12.2% 7.9%
 Ongoing Traditional
20.4% 17.1% 13.9% 9.4%
 Cash Balance 17.7% 14.5% 11.4% 7.1%

Please click on the "Historical" tab at the top of the website for longer time periods, including Five-Year and Return Since Inception (1/1/2016).


Frozen Plan 7 31

Recently Frozen Plan 7 31

Ongoing Plan 7 31

Cash Balance 7 31

Disclosure

FINDLEY

 

 USI Consulting Group (USICG) has been delivering retirement consulting and administration services to organizations and their participants for over 40 years. We offer innovative solutions to mitigate risk, stay compliant and protect plan sponsors and fiduciaries with deep commitment to client satisfaction and delivering superior results.

 

 

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 Clearstead is an independent financial advisory firm serving wealthy families and leading institutions across the country. As a fiduciary, it provides wealth management services and investment consulting to enable clients to meet their financial objectives, achieve their aspirations, and build strong futures.