In a move to strengthen the services it provides to sponsors of defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans, Nationwide Financial Services Inc. in April purchased a company that provides third-party money management services to plan participants.The company, Registered Investment Advisors Services Inc. (RIA), which is based in Dallas, has been providing investment management services since June 2002 to plans that are part of Nationwide's Best of America Group Pension Series programs. Based on that experience, Nationwide executives say tighter integration with RIA Services will provide plan participants with expert advice on how to manage their retirement funds, and it will enable Nationwide to expand these services to other plans.

The deal also provides Nationwide with technology that manages trades placed by money managers and a data management warehouse that supports plan enrollment and presentations to plan managers.

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