Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, the London branch of Merrill Lynch Asset Management of New York, is one of the first mutual fund companies in the U.K. to announce plans to offer stakeholder pensions as part of a new, mandatory defined contribution system that the British government is introducing next year.

Designed much like U.S. 401(k) plans, stakeholder pensions are scheduled to be available in April 2001, said Lee Jagger, a partner with Bacon & Woodrow, an actuarial and consulting company in London. By October 2001, companies with five employees or more that do not already offer a defined contribution or defined benefit plan will be required to offer a stakeholder pension, he said.

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