WestRock Co., Norcross, Ga., hired Empower Retirement as record keeper and Rocaton Investment Advisors as investment consultant of a new 401(k) plan, said Frank Varano, senior manager-pension and investments.
The changes are the result of the creation of WestRock on July 1, from the merger of Rock-Tenn Co., Norcross, Ga., and MeadWestvaco Corp., Richmond, Va.
WestRock conducted a search earlier this year for a single record keeper for a new 401(k) plan merging the previous plans of Rock-Tenn Co. and MeadWestvaco.
Rocaton was hired as the combined plans’ investment consultant and assisted in the shortlist search for a new record keeper. The previous providers were included in the search.
The plans will be merged, and Empower will become the record keeper on Jan. 1. A blackout period for participants begins at 4 p.m. EST on Dec. 28 and ends during the week of Jan. 17.
The Rock-Tenn Co. 401(k) and RTS Packaging LLC 401(k) Master Trust had $1.4 billion in assets as of Dec. 31. The MeadWestvaco Corp. Savings & Employee Stock Ownership Plan for Salaried and Non-Bargained Hourly Employees had $806 million in assets, and the MeadWestvaco Corp. Savings & Employee Stock Ownership Plan for Bargained Hourly Employees had $340 million, both as of Dec. 31, according to the company’s most recent Form 5500 filings.
The U.S. defined benefit plans of both companies were already merged on July 2 into the WestRock Co. Consolidated Pension Plan, and certain salaried and non-union hourly employees’ benefit accruals will be frozen effective Dec. 31, although some will be grandfathered and will continue to accrue benefits through Dec. 31, 2020, according to WestRock’s 10-K filing Nov. 27. WestRock hired Goldman Sachs Asset Management as investment consultant and co-fiduciary of the DB plans, Mr. Varano said.
While GSAM will have some fiduciary responsibility, the company’s investment committee will still approve any changes in the money management of the plans.
As of Sept. 30, the company’s U.S. DB assets totaled $6.5 billion, with projected benefit obligations of $6.1 billion, for a funding ratio of 107%.