NU Online News Service, June 18, 2003, 4:58 p.m. EDT – Safeco Life & Investments, Redmond, Wash., says it will be introducing a mutual fund-based retirement savings program for sponsors of 403(b)(7) and 457 plans.

The sponsors of the plans are schools, hospitals and other nonprofit employers.

Safeco Life already has an annuity-based program for the nonprofit market. The new nonprofit plan program will offer more flexibility, providing a choice of about 50 funds from eight fund companies, Safeco Life says.

The fund companies include money managers such as AIM Advisors Inc., American Century Investments, and Fidelity Management and Research Company as well as Safeco Life’s own asset managers.

Safeco Life also will offer access to ShareBuilder, a Web-based system that lets users buy fractional shares of 3,500 stocks and 70 exchange-traded funds through regular contributions to retirement accounts.

Safeco Life will distribute the program through Safeco Investment Services Inc.

Safeco Life is a unit of Safeco Corp., Seattle.