Boston Archdiocese to Offer 401(k)

October 21, 2011 ( - The Archdiocese of Boston is rolling out a 401(k) plan for employees beginning in January 2012.

The new plan coincides with the freezing of the archdiocese pension plan and various voluntary 403(b) retirement saving plans used by different branches of the archdiocese, according to the Pilot Catholic News.  

All employees from parishes, archdiocesan related Catholic schools and cemeteries, and the Pastoral Center will be able to contribute a portion of their earnings to the 401(k) when the plan starts. Full-time employees, with one year of service, will be eligible for employer contributions, but will not be able to withdraw those funds, until they have completed five years of service.

Priests of the archdiocese will be able to contribute from their own salary, but whether they will be able to receive employer funds has not yet been decided, according to Carol Gustavson, archdiocesan director of benefits trust and plan administrator, the news report said.

Plan participants will be able to rollover funds from the pension plan, an archdiocesan 403(b) plan, other retirement plans, and IRAs.

In 2012, employers of the archdiocese will contribute up to 2% of an employee’s annual earnings, though the employee must have a year of service and work at least 1,000 hours. In subsequent years, employer contributions will vary. These funds will vest after an employee’s five years of service, again with at least 1,000 hours annually.

The new plan will be administered by TIAA-CREF and the plan’s registered investment adviser will be Graystone Consulting, a part of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Graystone will evaluate investment funds and will serve as fiduciary to the plan.

TIAA-CREF has set up a series of one-on-one consultation sessions for employees, and Graystone Consulting will also be able to be contacted directly for fund consultation.  

According to materials distributed to employees at an October 11 meeting, 401(k) plan participants will be able to choose among 27 different investment funds, including the Ave Maria Catholic Values Fund (see Ave Maria Sings Praises of Two New Funds), which is described as an equity mutual fund that invests in companies “that do not violate core teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.”  

The Archdiocese encountered conflict over its attempt to move from the defined benefit plan to a 403(b) (see Former Boston Archdiocese Official Asks for Pension Intervention).