Retirement plan providers are closely eyeing the new employer-only 401(k) plans as a vehicle that could capture greater rollover assets, open new markets and provide inroads to the high-net-worth crowd.

Under the rules of President Bush's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, consultants, freelance contractors, independent brokers, board members, lawyers and accountants who have no employees other than themselves, can now create their own private 401(k) plans. The legislation provides larger contribution limits and more appealing benefits than what was available under more traditional retirement plans.

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