MA Company to Phase Out DB Plan for a Beefed-Up 401(K)

September 7, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - A Massachusetts laboratory equipment maker will phase out its defined benefit pension plan in favor of a 401(k) program.

The Boston Globe reported that Waters Corporation revealed its plans in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Milford, Massachusetts firm said it will freeze contributions to the company’s traditional retirement plan starting December 31 and step up contributions to employee 401(k)s.

Waters spokesman Jeffrey Tarmy told the Globe the shift to 401(k)s will not save the company any money in the short run, but will reduce its future liability risk.

Waters currently offers a pension plan to its 2,100 US employees after a year of service. Employees are vested in the plan after five years. Workers who have already vested will still qualify for a pension when they retire, but Waters will stop contributing money this year, according to the news report.

Instead, the employer will beef up its 401(k) contributions starting January 1. Waters currently matches 50 cents for every $1 an employee contributes to the retirement fund, up to 6%. In addition, Waters said it will make a one-time extra contribution to 401(k) savings plans to help ease the transition.