(Photo: AP)

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) and Putnam Investments said Wednesday that Merrill’s retirement-plan program has been expanded to include Putnam Investments for those business clients with $5 million to $50 million in assets in their defined-contribution plans.

Merrill’s Advisor Alliance program, which includes investment services, recordkeeping and retirement-plan administration services, now includes offerings from 13 defined-contribution companies. According to BofA, the program serves more than 1 million plan participants from more than 40,000 businesses.

“As with our other alliance partners, Putnam shares our commitment to employee wellness and retirement readiness,” said Rich Linton, head of business-retirement solutions for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, in a statement.

“Putnam has thoughtfully designed a plan-participant experience that simplifies turning a savings strategy into retirement income. Its tools complement the education and guidance that are such an important part of our Financial Advisors value proposition,” Linton explained. One such resource now available to Merrill’s 17,000-plus advisors and their business clients is the Lifetime Income Analysis Tool, for instance.

According to BofA-Merrill, more than 2,300 Merrill advisors sold at least one plan through the Advisor Alliance program in 2011.

The program added $4 billion in new retirement-plan assets last year–a 26% jump from 2010–to end the year at $26.5 billion. It has grown by nearly $10 billion since early 2009, according to BofA.

“We are pleased that Putnam has been selected for the Advisor Alliance program, and look forward to working with Merrill Lynch and their advisors to deliver competitive and innovative workplace savings solutions to their clients,” said Edmund Murphy, head of defined contribution for Putnam Investments, in a press release. “This development is further affirmation that our differentiated offering continues to gain traction in the marketplace.