GE Transfers $1.7B in U.S. Pension Plan Obligations to Athene

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 12/15/2020, Location: North America

GE transferred approximately $1.7 billion of its U.S. GE Pension Plan obligations by purchasing group annuity contracts from wholly owned subsidiaries of Athene Holding Ltd. (“Athene”) (NYSE: ATH), a leading retirement services company.

Approximately 70,000 of GE’s retirees and beneficiaries with benefits under $360 per month will receive their monthly pension benefit payments from one of Athene’s wholly owned subsidiaries, either Athene Annuity and Life Company or Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company of New York as part of this transfer. The purchase of the group annuity contracts will be funded directly by assets of the U.S. GE Pension Plan.

Kevin Cox, GE’s Chief Human Resources Officer, said, “GE continues to appreciate the thousands of retirees who delivered for our customers, our shareholders, and for each other. As we seek to balance GE’s ongoing obligations with the need to strengthen our balance sheet, we are pleased to enter into this arrangement with Athene – a highly rated company that will serve this group of retirees well, ensuring they receive the same pension benefit, on the same schedule, as what they receive today.”

The pension transfer will not change the amount of the monthly pension benefit being paid to affected retirees. The GE Pension Plan engaged an independent fiduciary to select an annuity provider solely in the interest of participants and their beneficiaries. The group annuity contracts include an irrevocable commitment by Athene to make annuity payments to retirees and beneficiaries covered under the annuity contracts.

Bill Wheeler, President of Athene, said, “We are pleased to have been selected as a trusted partner by GE to help reduce the company’s pension risk through this transaction. Athene is committed to solutions that help plan sponsors meet their financial obligations while ensuring the financial security of their plan participants.”

This transaction does not materially impact the plan’s funded status and follows GE’s recent announcement to voluntarily pre-fund $2.5 billion of estimated minimum ERISA GE Pension Plan funding requirements for 2021, 2022, and into 2023.


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