Members of the National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association have agreed to have their group become a semi-autonomous division of the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries.

The combination is set to take effect in January.

ASPPA, Arlington, Va., represents about 6,500 professionals. Traditionally, most ASPPA members have worked with retirement plans at for-profit employers.

The NTSAA, St. Louis, represents practitioners, agencies and employers with an interest in the 403(b) and 457 nonprofit retirement plan markets. Its roster includes 1,000 retirement plan professionals.

“By combining our operations, we now have professional education and advocacy in one place for all retirement plan professionals,” NTSAA President Christopher DeGrassi says in a statement accompanying the combination announcement.

ASPPA Brian Graff says in a statement of his own that the combination will help ASPPA and NTSAA members do a better of educating Congress about retirement plans.

“The more total members we have, the louder our voice in Washington,” Graff says.

The combination also will give ASPPA respond to members’ growing interest in the nonprofit plan market, ASPPA says.