NU Online News Service, Jan. 24, 2005, 5:30 p.m. EST

A unit of San Francisco securities broker says a little hand holding can double retirement plan member contribution rates.[@@]

The unit, a retirement plan services arm of Charles Schwab Corp., says plan members who decided to use its new personalized advice services increased their average savings rate to 9.57% in 2004, up from 4.57% in 2003.

About 84% of the participants who signed up for Schwab advice enrolled in managed accounts that provide account monitoring and account rebalancing services, Schwab says.

The overall savings rate is 7.15% for all members of 401(k) plans serviced by Schwab, Schwab says.