LITTLE FALLS, N.J. — Bisys Group will handle record keeping for 5,000 Merrill Lynch small-market 401(k) plans.

Bisys will keep records for plans with less than $3 million of assets. Merrill will continue to perform investment services, such as asset management and investment processing, as well as sales and marketing functions.

Merrill’s plan support will also be handled by Bisys. The transition will begin in early 2001.

Mac Gardner, head of Merrill Lynch’s benefits and investment solutions division, said his company entered the alliance to enhance service to smaller clients.

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