London Market Monitor – 30 September 2021
September delivers some ups and downs: Equity and bond markets mostly fell, risk-free rates rose, UK inflation increased, and volatility notched upward.
As the Pension Risk Transfer market continues to grow, it has become increasingly important for plan sponsors to monitor the annuity buyout market when considering a plan termination or de-risking strategy. While we continue to monitor annuity purchase rates from all insurers, we have now also expanded our analysis to reflect the possible impact of competitive pricing to our estimated buyout cost. Figure 1 illustrates retiree buyout costs based on both an average of all insurer rates in our study and on just the most competitive rates, which represents the price savings that may be achieved when selecting between bids from multiple insurers.
During December 2020, average accounting discount rates and average annuity purchase rates both stayed level (competitive annuity purchase rates dropped by 3 bps). This caused the average estimated retiree buyout cost as a percentage of accounting liability (accumulated benefit obligation) to stay level at 101.8%, while the competitive pricing trend decreased from 99.4% to 99.1%.
When considering these results, please keep the following information in mind:
The Milliman Pension Buyout Index (MPBI) uses the FTSE Above Median AA Curve and annuity purchase composite interest rates from eight insurance companies to estimate the cost, as a percentage of accounting liability, of transferring retiree pension obligations to an insurer. To review previous monthly findings, visit milliman.com/en/periodicals/Milliman-Pension-Buyout-Index.