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Lump Sum Windows to Continue in 2016

In the last two years, the number of pension plan sponsors offering lump sum windows as part of their liability management strategy has increased substantially. This is in part due to the rising costs associated with managing and administering the plan. In addition, there has been a benefit to offering a lump sum window sooner rather than later. The IRS has not adopted the 2014 mortality table assumptions, and still allows a modified version of the 2000 tables (with lower mortality rates) to be used to calculate the liability valuation for lump sums. The IRS is expected to announce an adoption of new mortality assumptions this year, to be effective in 2017. Based on mortality, plan sponsors will experience lower liability payouts for lump sums offered to terminated, vested employees in 2016 as compared to a later date. (It should be noted that, established in a July 2015 IRS ruling, a lump sum payout option can now only be offered to current retirees receiving payments if the plan is being terminated, but not during a separate window). Given this situation, plans should consider discussing calculations and projections with their actuary, who will be able to provide a cost comparison.