|IHS MARKIT LTD. filed this Form 10-K on 01/18/2019|
plan. The U.K. RIP’s established investment policy is to match the liabilities for active and deferred members with equity investments and match the liabilities for pensioner members with fixed-income investments. Asset allocations are subject to ongoing analysis and possible modification as basic capital market conditions change over time (interest rates, inflation, etc.).
The following table compares target asset allocation percentages with actual asset allocations at the end of 2018:
Investment return assumptions for both plans have been determined by obtaining independent estimates of expected long-term rates of return by asset class and applying the returns to assets on a weighted-average basis.
All of our pension plan assets are measured at fair value on a recurring basis by reference to similar assets in active markets and are therefore classified within Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy. Plan assets as of November 30, 2018 and 2017 were classified in the following categories (in millions):
During the third quarter of 2018, we terminated our contributory postretirement medical plan, which resulted in a $7.1 million curtailment gain associated with the reduction in postretirement benefit liability. The plan historically subsidized the cost of coverage for retiree-medical coverage for certain grandfathered employees. Our subsidy was capped at different rates per month depending on individual retirees’ Medicare eligibility. Our net periodic postretirement expense was $0.4 million in 2017 and $0.4 million in 2016, and our postretirement benefit obligation was zero and $8.4 million as of November 30, 2018 and 2017, respectively. The net unfunded status of the postretirement benefit plan is recorded in accrued pension and postretirement liability in the consolidated balance sheets.
Defined Contribution Plans
Employees of certain subsidiaries may participate in defined contribution plans, and we provide matching contributions as part of the plans. Benefit expense relating to these plans was approximately $21.1 million, $24.8 million, and $23.4 million for the years ended November 30, 2018, 2017, and 2016, respectively.
As of November 30, 2018, IHS Markit equity awards may only be issued from the 2014 Equity Incentive Award Plan (“2014 Equity Plan”), which is a legacy Markit plan. The legacy IHS plan, the Amended and Restated IHS Inc. 2004 Long-Term Incentive Plan, expired on November 30, 2018. The 2014 Equity Plan provides for the grant of non-qualified stock options, incentive stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock, restricted stock units, performance units and performance shares, cash-based awards, other stock based awards, and covered employee annual incentive awards. Upon vesting of an award, we may either issue new shares or reissue treasury shares. As of November 30, 2018, we have an authorized maximum of 35.2 million shares under the 2014 Equity Plan, and that amount will be increased by (a) the number of shares granted and outstanding under the Key Employee Incentive Program, the 2013 Share Option Plan, and the 2014 Share Option Plan as of June 24, 2014 that terminate by expiration, forfeiture, cancellation or otherwise without the issuance of our common shares, and (b) on January 1 of each year through January 1, 2024, in an amount equal to the lesser of: (x) 2.5 percent of the total number of IHS Markit’s common shares issued and outstanding on a fully diluted basis as of December 31 of the