American Skandia, the Shelton, Conn.-based variable annuity and mutual fund company, has introduced a small employer retirement plan with a cost- saving feature.

Called AS(k), the plan gives company sponsors 20 basis points on assets to subsidize the cost of record keeping. The plan also pays 2% on every dollar that a participant contributes during the first year.

AS(k) is a variable annuity aimed at employers with 250 or fewer employees. Plan participants can invest in third-party mutual funds.

The plan "reduces and eventually eliminates the record keeping costs," Daniel Darst, senior vice president of American Skandia said in a statement. "This was the single largest impediment to small retirement plan formation."

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