Just Group has completed a £158m pensioner buy-in with the Wyeth Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme, bringing its total bulk annuity sales for 2018 to £1.3bn.
Around 1,200 members were covered by the buy-in, which was "actively supported" by Pfizer, the defined benefit (DB) scheme's sponsor.
The insurer was chosen after a "rigorous selection process", it said, with competitive pricing and the use of a secure counterparty aiding the process. The trustees also undertook a site visit to Just Group to understand its administration capabilities.
Scheme trustee Debbie Berney said: "We welcome this transaction as a big step forward in ensuring the scheme is able to meet the full costs of its future pension payments to all members and look forward to examining other de-risking opportunities in the future."
Just head of DB business development Rob Mechem said the funding situation and preparedness of the trustees had helped the deal.
"This is a well-funded scheme with a trustee board that was fully engaged in the details of every aspect of the process and was very well-prepared in terms of data cleansing and benefit specification," he said.
Mercer partner Martyn Phillips, who advised the trustees, added the transaction had included "practical and cost-effective steps" to ensure member payments were guaranteed.
The announcement came as the insurer published its final results for 2018, revealing it had completed £1.3bn of de-risking deals in the year, up 32% on 2017 when sales totalled £998m.
While sales of guaranteed income for life products fell by 4%, and drawdown sales remained stagnant at £51m in both 2018 and 2017, across all retirement products sales had grown by 15%.
Just Group chief executive Rodney Cook said he was "pleased to report on an excellent year".
He added: "Despite the challenges we faced, we have achieved another year of double-digit sales growth and helped more customers than ever."
Based on announced deals and published results, around £20.5bn of bulk annuities were transacted in 2018, making it by far the biggest year for the market, surpassing the previous record of £13.2bn set in 2014.
The Smiths Industries Pension Scheme has secured a £146m buy-in with Canada Life in its fourth bulk annuity and its sponsor’s tenth overall.
The Prudential Staff Pension Scheme has entered into a £3.7bn longevity swap with Pacific Life Re, insuring the longevity risk of over 20,000 pensioners.
The Baker Hughes (UK) Pension Plan has secured approximately £100m of liabilities through a buy-in with Just Group.
There have now been a total of 30 longevity swaps over £1bn publicly announced. The full list, provided by Willis Towers Watson and through PP research, is as follows...
The Reckitt Benckiser Pension Fund has secured a £415m buy-in with Scottish Widows, insuring the benefits of around half of pensioners.