Working at Charles Schwab & Co. has been a financial and romantic boon for two mutual fund executives planning early retirement.

William Klipp, 43, president and chief operating officer of the San Francisco brokerage's $87 billion mutual fund family, said he plans to retire by yearend. Linda Coffey, Mr. Klipp's fiancee, will retire at the end of next month. Both want to take a break, spend some time with their children, and travel, Mr. Klipp said.

Ms. Coffey, 42, is a vice president in Schwab's Mutual Fund Marketplace, which includes the successful OneSource fund supermarket. She has worked at Schwab for 12 years. The couple met at the company and has been engaged for three years, Mr. Klipp said.

"It was a big decision," said Mr. Klipp, who has put in nine years at the broker-dealer. "Schwab is a very special place to work."

However, Schwab's high-performing stock price helped ease his decision, he conceded.

"From 1990 through 1997 Schwab was the highest-returning stock in all of corporate America," Mr. Klipp said. "In 1998 and 1999 we've continued to do reasonably well, so it's provided the chance for me to retire."

Schwab stock was selling for $3 a share at the end of 1991. It was trading at $79.81 at mid-afternoon Friday.The stock has split six times since December 1991.

All Schwab employees participate in a profit-sharing plan through stock options, which increase as a person climbs the corporate ladder, a spokesman said.

Schwab's mutual fund unit has achieved substantial asset growth, jumping to $87 billion from roughly $55 billion at the end of 1997. Mr. Klipp said he wants to stick around to see assets reach $100 billion, which should be a "slam dunk," he said.

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