Your scheme is unique, with its own set of circumstances and strategic objectives. But whatever those circumstances and objectives are, all defined benefit pension schemes should be considering which risk transfer activities fit within their long-term strategy, along with how and when to deploy them.

Over 2020 and 2021, Mercer Risk Transfer have advised on...



The largest bulk annuity transaction in 2021



of bulk annuity transactions over 70 deals



of all bulk annuity transactions

How we help

Our Risk Transfer advisory team focus on helping trustees and sponsors of defined benefit pension schemes identify the most effective way to manage, reduce or remove risk as they progress along the path to their end game target.

Streamlined quotation service

Are you looking to complete a deal of £100m or less and are concerned that you will struggle to attract the attention of insurers? We have developed a unique solution that could help you get more quotes more frequently from more insurers. Watch our short animation to find out more about the Mercer Streamlined Quotation Service.


We have helped DB pension schemes understand, plan and deliver the outcomes that are right for all their stakeholders and understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to this. Our team is focused on helping you identify the solutions appropriate for you.


Click on each of the following solutions to find out more.

  • Buy-ins and buy-outs

    Buy-ins and buy-outs



    The bulk annuity market has rapidly expanded over the past few years and transaction volumes appear set to remain at high levels over the next few years at least. Throughout recent economic volatility, the market has remained buoyant and insurer pipelines strong.


    While insurers continue to invest and expand to meet the increased demand, it is important that companies and trustees approach the market with a clear set of objectives and implementation strategy.


    We often find schemes are closer to buyout than they think but, even if it does remain several years away, there are likely to be meaningful preparatory actions that you can take now.


    Our team have advised on c.35% of all buy-ins and buy-outs completed, covering transactions of all sizes. This experience will help you prepare for one of the most important steps in the life of your scheme.


    It is often perceived that smaller schemes may struggle to attract the attention of insurers, particularly in the crowded marketplace of today. Mercer have developed a unique offering to help clients in this position – the Streamlined Quotation Service.


  • Longevity swaps

    Longevity swaps



    Over recent years, many pension schemes have steadily reduced investment risk and this trend is continuing. This leaves longevity as the primary residual risk to their funding position. While this risk can be hedged through a buy-in or buy-out, this won’t be right for all schemes. Strategic longevity-only hedging will be the right move for schemes targeting a long-term run-off, for example, or for those where the sponsoring employer wants to retain the potential benefit of strong investment returns.


    There are a range of longevity hedging solutions that have been developed for pension schemes, and Mercer is the only adviser with experience of implementing each of these. Our expertise includes developing a unique small scheme offering, and helping clients understand whether it still makes sense to hedge longevity risk in the midst of a global pandemic.


  • Member options

    Member options



    Implemented appropriately, exercises which offer members different options around what to do with their scheme benefits have potential advantages for members, trustees and companies. Mercer have implemented several hundred member options projects across a team of actuaries and communications specialists, who deploy behavioural science techniques to improve member engagement.


    In 2019 we also unveiled our unique Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool, which utilises the information from the thousands of member choices made in member options projects each year to determine the likelihood of each member accepting an offer in relation to their benefits.


  • Superfunds and further risk transfer innovations

    Superfunds and further risk transfer innovations



    A government 2018 white paper opened the door to defined benefit pension scheme consolidation. Two commercial consolidators – Clara Pensions and The Pensions Superfund – have emerged as a result and the Pensions Regulator has provided guidance for trustees who are considering transacting with consolidators. In the challenging economic environment we face today, we expect more distressed employers to find this an attractive option.


    However, it is important to remember that commercial consolidators (and indeed buy-in and buy-out providers) are just one end of the spectrum of consolidation options. Mercer have a team of consolidation experts covering risk transfer, covenant and investment who will help you work out what the right solution for you is.


  • Alternative risk transfer options

    Alternative risk transfer options



    There are a number of other options available to trustees and sponsors who are looking to remove risk from their defined benefit pension scheme. Download our free overview for an introduction, and contact your Mercer consultant for more details.


    Read more


We’re committed to keeping schemes up-to-date with all the important developments in the Risk Transfer market. This page is therefore regularly updated with articles, videos, case studies, webinar links and more. To view, please click below.


Risk Transfer Market Watch

Speak with a Mercer consultant

We’re eager to speak with you. Please provide your details below.
*Required Fields