The Charles Schwab Corp. of San Francisco is tapping the 403(b) retirement plan marketplace by adding a new 403(b) plan retirement account to its retail offerings, according to the company. The new accounts became available to investors the week of Nov. 27, according to Moe Shafroth, a spokesperson for Schwab.

403(b) plan participants will be able to transfer their non-Schwab 403(b) plan account assets to Schwab, then continue making periodic payroll deduction contributions to their new Schwab plan account, Schwab said. Schwab will allow plan participants with Schwab accounts to purchase shares of more than 2,000 mutual funds. Schwab will also make many of its online retirement planning aids and services available to these 403(b) plan participants, according to Schwab.

Assets held in all 403(b) plans are projected to reach $567 billion at year-end 2000, with mutual funds accounting for just over 18 percent of those assets, according to Spectrem Group of New York. 403(b) plan assets have grown at 11.5 percent annually over the past five years, according to Spectrem. Nearly 34,000 organizations now offer 403(b) plans to their employees, the firm said.

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