The retirement-plan market is booming, creating employment opportunities for bankers who lost their jobs during mergers and acquisitions.

So says a recent study by Access Research, a financial services consulting firm in Windsor, Conn.

According to Access, the number of companies with 401(k) plans hit 228,000 in 1995, up from 142,000 in 1989. At the same time, assets in 401(k) plans grew to $675 billion from $270 billion and participants jumped to 22 million from 15 million, Access said.

As a result, banks, insurance companies, and mutual fund companies are all looking for people who know that business and have specific record keeping and administrative skills, the consulting firm said. And, each industry is showing a willingness to recruit candidates from the others, creating opportunities for displaced bankers.

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