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Shell Ditches Retiree Baggage in a $4.9 Billion “See Ya Later” Deal with Prudential

Posted by John Donovan: 8 Feb 24

Oh, what do we have here? Shell, the ever-so-charitable and eco-conscious oil behemoth, has just offloaded the pesky pension obligations of 21,500 retirees of Shell USA Inc. in a dazzling $4.9 billion deal with Prudential. Because, you know, ensuring the well-being of people who’ve toiled away their best years for you is such a drag when there are oil wells to drill and environmental regulations to sidestep.

In a move that’s as groundbreaking as discovering oil in your backyard, this transaction has been hailed as the first major pension risk transfer of the year. “Prudential is honored to help continue meeting the retirement security needs of Shell’s retirees,” gushes Alexandra Hyten, head of Prudential’s institutional retirement strategies because nothing says “honor” like taking over payments to retirees from a company that’s probably too busy counting its pollution credits to bother with pension checks.

Prudential, now tasked with handling the golden years of these 21,500 souls starting May 15, has been lauded for its “commitment to flawless execution—from the transaction itself to participant onboarding and service delivery.” Ah, the sweet sound of corporate speak that almost makes you forget we’re talking about people’s livelihoods, not just numbers on a balance sheet.

And let’s not forget, this isn’t Prudential’s first rodeo. No, sir! They’ve been in the business of making pension problems disappear faster than Shell can say “oil spill.”

Meanwhile, Shell’s pension plan, sitting pretty with assets of $14.468 billion at the end of 2022, will now be a bit lighter, because who needs the hassle of ensuring a stable future for retirees when there are shareholders to appease? And let’s not overlook the booming PRT market, with 2022 setting records faster than Shell can dodge environmental accountability.

So, as Shell waves goodbye to its retiree obligations, one can’t help but marvel at the sheer audacity. It’s like watching a magician pull a disappearing act, except the rabbit is your retirement security and the hat is a multinational corporation with an oil fetish. Bravo, Shell! You’ve once again shown that in the grand scheme of things, it’s profits over people, always and forever.

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