Merrill Lynch is acquiring Howard Johnson, a New York-based consulting and actuarial services firm.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
``The acquisition allows us to expand our consulting capabilities and to provide total benefits outsourcing: defined benefits, defined contribution and health and welfare services,'' a company representative said.
Merrill Lynch did not have health and welfare plan design and administration capabilities previously, said the representative.
Howard Johnson administers plans with about $30 billion in defined contribution assets.
The acquisition is expected to be completed by mid-October.