U.S. corporate pension plan buyout sales totaled $7.7 billion in the third quarter, Pensions & Investments reported. A LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute sales survey found the amount of buyouts was up 22% from the third quarter of 2018, when buyout sales totaled $6.3 billion. According to LIMRA, the quarter marked the highest third-quarter sales since it began tracking the market in 1986. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. completed the largest buyout during the third quarter, transferring $2.4 billion in pension plan liabilities to Athene Annuity and Life Co. to complete a full termination of the plan originally announced in December 2018. The deal was the first of its kind, because it covers more than 24,000 current and former employees as well as beneficiaries, Athene said when the transaction was announced. Pension buyout plans enable organizations to shed retirement costs by transferring pension liabilities to insurance companies that cover the promised benefits.