Introduction of new tool is part of broader strategy
to help pension sponsors manage complex financial issues
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Sept. 18, 2017 – Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual), as part of a broader strategy to expand its share of the defined benefit (DB) pension market, is introducing a new analysis tool to help employers gauge the relative health of their pension plans and manage them accordingly.
MassMutual’s PensionSmart Analysis tool is available to pension plan sponsors through financial advisors and consultants who serve the pension recordkeeping, investments and actuarial marketplaces. The tool provides insights into the health of an employer’s pension, creating a “persona” that details the plan’s current status, funding level or health, service structure, and a comparison to pension plans sponsored by other employers in the same industry. In addition, the PensionSmart Analysis tool will help financial advisors and consultants identify local pension plans that may benefit from a plan health analysis and consultation. With the results of the tool’s analysis in hand, MassMutual’s pension experts can then assess the pension plan’s health and make recommendations to the sponsor about appropriate options.
“Our new PensionSmart Analysis tool provides employers and their advisors an easy-to-understand snapshot of their pension’s health and status in relation to their total retirement benefits package,” said Michael O’Connor, leader of MassMutual’s Defined Benefit Pension unit. “The introduction of this new analysis tool is part of a broader strategy by MassMutual to expand its share of the pension market as some providers reduce their service and support. There is a real opportunity to put our 70-plus years of experience and expertise in the pension plan market to good use.”
As of March 31, 2017, the Investment Company Institute reports there are $8.6 trillion total in private and public DB pension assets in the United States1. There are $4.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities, which O’Connor said is indicative that many pension plans can benefit from the expertise of an experienced risk manager and consultant such as MassMutual.
The PensionSmart Analysis tool provides plan sponsors with a diagnosis or assessment of their plan’s health, including insights on funding levels, administrative efficiencies and expense savings, improved communications to participants and design recommendations. The analysis also examines funding, investment and de-risking strategies to help sponsors make the best long-term decisions about managing their pension plans. The insurer has a team of actuaries and investment professionals that focus on helping sponsors achieve their pension plan objectives.
As part of the analysis of pension investments, the PensionSmart Analysis tool can examine different investment “glide path” options to help sponsors achieve specific goals related to funding and liability matching, according to O’Connor. MassMutual can also asses and recommend de-risking strategies as more sponsors look to reduce liabilities from pensions.
“Sponsors of defined benefit plans have different goals, from continuing their commitments to terminating a plan and from better managing liabilities to shifting them to a third party,” O’Connor said. “Once we have an analysis in hand, MassMutual’s team of pension experts will consult with the sponsor and make recommendations based on a sponsor’s specific goals.”
Advisors and consultants can use the PensionSmart Analysis tool to generate a listing of pension plans in their area and determine which plan sponsors might benefit the most from a health analysis. The PensionSmart Analysis tool displays information on the sponsor, type of plan, size of the pension in assets and number of participants, funding level, status and service model.
MassMutual’s nationwide team of managing directors for institutional retirement plans can work with advisors to help identify sponsors that might benefit from an analysis and potential expert guidance, according to O’Connor. This team works in concert with MassMutual’s actuarial and investment staff as well as relationship managers to ensure that recommendations are properly implemented, monitored and adjusted as necessary to help sponsors achieve their plan objectives, he said.
“Insightful, experienced support for pension plans is becoming harder for many plan sponsors to obtain. MassMutual has the experience, expertise and resources to help pension sponsors manage complex financial issues and meet their obligations,” O’Connor said.