Online services that match 401(k) plan sponsors with plan providers are making it easier for plan providers to market directly to small and medium-sized plan sponsors, according to industry executives and analysts.

Companies like 401kExchange.com of Lake Worth, Fla., Search401k.com of Mendota Heights, Minn. and 401Konnect of Palo Alto, Calif., allow plan sponsors to post their retirement plan criteria online and providers can then respond to requests for proposals using a pre-fabricated format. The sites allow plan sponsors to quickly narrow their lists of possible plans while opening a new method for providers to gain access to the small business retirement market, said J. Chris Lynch, president of 401kExchange.

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