Skip to main content

The benefits of pension risk transfer

Keith McDonagh

Posted on May 28, 2021

Head of the Institutional Solutions businesses for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual).
Close up of a baton being passed from a male Caucasian hand to a male African-American hand

While a defined benefit (DB) pension plan is a sound benefit that may offer some financial security to plan participants in their golden years, DB plans are not well understood by many employees, and they are costly and cumbersome for employers to offer. What’s more, in many cases, it can take years to completely unwind a pension plan through a variety of methods. Except one.

A pension risk transfer to a group annuity solution helps companies focus on their core business, with the confidence that payments to the individuals in those plans continue for the full benefit period. A well-designed pension buyout strategy has several important benefits:

  • Reduce or eliminate risk by transferring the uncertainties associated with plan assets and liabilities.
  • Eliminate accounting and funding volatility driven by the stricter regulatory environment.
  • Lower expenses by eliminating PBGC premiums and administrative, actuarial and investment management expenses.
  • Exit the pension administration business by transferring it to the insurer with the assets.
  • Enable a greater focus on your core business, increasing overall value for your organization.

The most effective pension buyout solution is customized to best fit that company’s business needs. Pension buyout solutions include:

  • A single-premium annuity contract with an irrevocable commitment to provide the benefits purchased, which can be funded through cash or a transfer-of-assets in kind.
  • Benefit payments guaranteed to the individuals (or their beneficiaries) through annuity certificates from a highly rated insurer.
  • High-quality customer-focused administrative services, information and communications.
  • Availability of general account and separate account solutions.

Pursuing the selection of an insurer for your buyout annuity is an important decision that requires the consideration of a number of factors to find the right solution. The factors that matter most when looking for a pension buyout provider are financial strength, annuity solutions experience, and on-going annuitant service excellence.

At MassMutual, we offer plan sponsors and intermediaries confidence in helping ensure their fiduciary duties and pension obligations are satisfied. As a mutual company run for the benefit of its participating policyholders, we offer confidence through our enduring financial strength, our annuity solutions expertise, and our passion for helping people secure their future and protect the ones they love.

If you’d like to learn more about MassMutual’s pension risk transfer capabilities, please contact us or talk to your financial professional.


Keith McDonagh is Head of the Institutional Solutions businesses for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual), which includes Institutional Insurance, Institutional Longevity, Defined Benefit, Institutional Investments, Stable Value, Medium Term Notes and Guaranteed Interest Contracts.

More from MassMutual...

Institutional Solutions

Institutional Longevity

This article was originally published in August 2017. It has been updated.


The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to seek advice from your own tax or legal counsel.