PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrill Lynch today announced that its Group Employee Services division has been selected to provide a range of 401(k) plan services for the 70,000 eligible employees of Dillard's Inc., a leading national department store chain based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dillard's acquisition of the former Mercantile Stores Company, completed in August 1998, necessitated a merger of their current retirement plan, previously administered by Federated Investors, Inc. of Pittsburgh, and the Mercantile Stores plan, which had been administered by Towers Perrin. "Consolidating the two plans created an opportunity for us to seek a new 401(k) provider that could best meet our employees' retirement needs," said John Hawkins, Vice President and Treasurer of Dillard's. "We selected Merrill Lynch for its reputation for integrity, flexibility and service, as well as its local presence in branch offices across the country. The plan provides unmatched flexibility in investment options, state-of-the-art recordkeeping, and a broad range of employee education tools." In addition to Dillard's, Merrill Lynch provides a full range of 401(k) and benefits services to some of the largest companies in the U.S., including Wal-Mart, DuPont, Coca-Cola, Daimler-Chrysler and KPMG-Peat Marwick. "We are pleased that Dillard's selected Merrill Lynch to help shape its employee benefits agenda for the 21st century," said Patrick J. Walsh, Senior Vice President, Merrill Lynch Group Employee Services. "We look forward to working with Dillard's to design a flexible investment menu and education program that will empower its employees to take control of their financial futures." With more than $163 billion in retirement plan assets and 3.4 million individual participants, Merrill Lynch Group Employee Services serves large-, middle- and small-market company employee benefit plans and is the third largest provider of retirement plan services in the U.S. Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading financial management and advisory companies with offices in more than 41 countries and total client assets exceeding $1.4 trillion. As an investment bank, it is the top global underwriter and market maker of debt and equity securities and a leading strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals worldwide. Through Merrill Lynch Asset Management and Mercury Asset Management the company is one of the world's largest managers of financial assets.
SOURCE Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.