The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a decision in a Washington state district court that said sponsors can terminate participants' rights to transfer account balances from a defined contribution plan to a defined benefit plan.

In Anderson v. DHL Retirement Pension Plan, the plaintiffs were enrollees in Airborne Express, Inc.'s defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Airborne was acquired by DHL in 2003.

Participants of Airborne's DC and DB plans were allowed to transfer assets in their defined contribution plan to their defined benefit plan's general pool before their final pension was determined. In doing so, they could add to their monthly pension payments in retirement, essentially annuitizing their defined contribution savings.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.