Defined benefit (DB) schemes are set to shear themselves of over £300bn of liabilities between 2019 and 2021 as they continue to mature, Mercer predicts.
The investment consultancy said a combination of payments to aging members, bulk annuity deals, member transfers, and tax-free lump sums would lead to the significant figure.
The consequence is that schemes will continue to improve their funding positions while seeing a huge amount of risk removed, it added.
Most significantly, Mercer said £90bn of bulk annuity deals will be agreed over the next three years, averaging £30bn a year to break 2018's current record-breaking figure of £18.6bn. Willis Towers Watson has also predicted a £30bn figure for next year.
Partner Andrew Ward said several factors were feeding into the competitive market.
"Asset performance hasn't been too bad and scheme funding levels have generally improved so the gap today at transaction is less," he said. "This is partly helped by longevity moves as well, which have made the pricing a lot better."
He added insurers had "got to grips" with Solvency II regulations to source better assets to back bulk annuity deals, reducing pricing.
"I think we will see more buyout transactions of all sizes [in 2019]," he continued. "A lot of buyouts but buy-ins will definitely remain a theme."
And this trend will continue for up to 20 years, Mercer predicted, as schemes continue to mature and those which remain open to accrual continue to run on.
Partner Suthan Rajagopalan said the pace of maturing liabilities was "astonishing".
"There is a herd of schemes on a journey to their end goal - that being a buyout - but that timeframe being between 10 and 20 years for a huge number of those schemes.
"After that 10- to 20-year period, most of their non-pensioners will have retired. They are looking at almost an entire legacy issue. The need for liquidity is so much higher."
Transfers out of DB schemes are "accelerating that maturing", he added, noting that the consultancy expects some £60bn of further transfers to take place by 2022.
And, despite a quiet market for longevity swaps so far this year, with just two deals worth £2.3bn, Rajagopalan said there was plenty of room for this to surge.
"There is definitely still a need for that kind of solution for certain schemes - the very large schemes, or schemes which have a particular type of liability, whether it is more rich in higher pensions, or is quite concentrated."
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