In its recent SEC filing, paint giant Sherwin Williams disclosed that it had distributed lump sums to some of its pension plan participants in late 2018, and intended to continue its pension de-risking in 2019 via more lump-sum payments or the purchase of a group annuity contract. At the end of 2017, Sherwin William’s three defined benefit plans were actually over-funded, with assets of $1.19 billion, with projected benefit obligations of $916.2 million. After additional lump-sum payments in 2019 and the purchase of an annuity contract, Sherwin William’s plans to use the remaining cash to fund future contributions to a defined contribution pension plan that will replace its current defined benefit plans. Unlike a defined benefit plan, a defined contribution plan does not promise or guarantee a specific amount of benefits at retirement. A contribution plan invests either or both of the employer and employee contributions in a retirement account on the employee’s behalf, with the employee to receive the balance upon retirement.
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