Fidelity Investments to End DB Plan

March 29, 2007 ( - Fidelity Investments has decided to drop its traditional pension plan for roughly 32,000 of its employees and to instead offer a richer 401(k) match and an annual credit to a health savings plan.

Fidelity will stop making payments into the pension plan June 1, a Boston Globe news report said. The report did not say whether there will be any cost savings from the change. The firm says the plan is fully funded to meet current obligations.

Further, beginning in 2008, spokesman Anne Crowley told the Globe that employees will be able to roll over their existing pension benefits into an existing company profit-sharing plan or they can choose to take those benefits as an annuity upon retirement.

The firm’s 401(k) matching contribution will be increased from 5% to 7% and, beginning in 2008, Fidelity will credit employee health care savings accounts with $3,000 annually to help pay for retiree health care. This money will be accrued in an account in which distributions are not taxed.

According to a filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, the pension plan has 36,800 participants, including current employees, former workers due future benefits, and retirees.

According to the Globe, Crowley said that 71% of Fidelity’s employees (who have an average age of about 35) reported they did not know how they would pay for health care in retirement. Their average employee is around 35, according to the report.

The change comes as Fidelity released data that the average 65-year-old couple needs an estimated $215,000 to cover health care costs in retirement (see Estimated $215,000 Needed for Retiree Health Care Costs ).