BOSTON | Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:07pm EDT (Reuters) - Fidelity Investments said last week it added new defined-contribution retirement plans with total assets of $17 billion in the first half of 2011, boosting its position as the industry's largest plan provider.

Plans added in the first half of 2011 included about 315,000 participants, Fidelity said.

The figures were lower than in the first six months of 2010, however, family-controlled Fidelity said it received new commitments of $22 billion to administer in so-called "defined-contribution" plan assets such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s, representing 400,000 plan participants.

In an interview, Fidelity Executive Vice President Steve Patterson said the difference was an unusual trend last year in which more companies bid out their retirement plan service contracts following mergers or acquisitions.

In all, Fidelity served as record-keeper for $940.5 billion in assets in defined-contribution plans, according to the most recent figures from trade publication PlanSponsor, published in June. The next-largest were TIAA-CREF with $352.3 billion and Aon Corp's Aon Hewitt with $296.8 billion. In all, the industry includes about $4 trillion in assets.

Nevin Adams, global editor-in-chief of PlanSponsor, said the lower growth rate for Fidelity could also reflect attention by businesses on areas outside of retirement savings, such as health care costs and the impact of financial reforms.

While there has been a lot of talk about retirement plans, he said: "The actual motion has been slower. That, in and of itself, may account for what Fidelity is showing," he added.

Fidelity said as of August it had assets under administration of $914 billion in defined-contribution plans that included more than 14.5 million participants.

Patterson said Fidelity is now winning about two-thirds of the business for which it competes, compared with about half this time a year ago.

Companies that assigned plans to Fidelity in the first half of the year include Janus Capital Group Inc and the law firm Wiley Rein LLP, he said.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber; editing by Gunna Dickson and Gerald E. McCormick)

© 2010 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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