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Four insurance brokers given subpoenas in major US investigation

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has issued subpoenas to four insurance brokers as part of an investigation into pension risk transfer deals.

The subpoenas were issued Wednesday to units of Morgan Stanley, Aon, Willis Towers Watson, and Mercer – a Marsh & McLennan company. The regulator is seeking documents about their communications with insurer Athene Holding, people close to the matter told Reuters.

Pension risk transfers allow insurers to take over a plan and transfer the risk, with the hope that they can make more in investments than they pay out in pensions. To take over a plan, an insurer usually has to write a group annuity contract to cover those pensions.

Sources explained that the NY regulator is investigating whether the subpoenaed brokers – who help facilitate pension risk transfers – solicited insurers not licensed in New York to take the transfers. The NYSDFS has the authority to levy fines on companies that it regulates, and can even revoke their licenses to operate in the state.

Athene Holding shared with Reuters that it has been contacted by the NYSDFS and is working with the regulator over the investigation.

“We confirm that the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) has requested information regarding our PRT business,” the company said in an email statement. “Athene is fully cooperating with the NYSDFS.”


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