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Companies Decide Time Is Right to Offload Pensions to Insurers

Oct. 7, 2021, 8:00 AM

Many Americans who still have a traditional pension—the kind that pays a regular income no matter what the market does—could soon have a different company paying their benefits. U.S. companies owe current and future retirees and their beneficiaries more than $3 trillion, and many have been trying to exit the retirement business for years. Right now they have a golden opportunity to buy their way out.

It’s called a pension risk transfer, or PRT: By buying a financial product called an annuity, a company can essentially place the assets of a plan and the responsibility for paying for it into ...