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Legg Mason Adds Retirement Share Class

The new class targets small, medium-size retirement plans.

Investors in some small and medium-sized retirement plans will soon have another way to invest in a variety of Legg Mason's (LM) - Get Legg Mason, Inc. Report flagship mutual funds.

Beginning Dec. 1, the Baltimore-based asset manager will offer retirement-class shares on 11 funds managed by its investment subsidiaries, including Legg Mason Capital Management, ClearBridge Advisors, Western Asset Management and Batterymarch Financial Management.

Small and medium-size retirement plans are considered those with $10 million to $25 million in assets, according to a Legg Mason spokeswoman.

Legg Mason already offers other share-class pricing options targeting plans of this size, but the company said in a press release that the new "R-shares" will better serve some of them.

"By offering advisors more choices of pricing options based on retirement-plan size and other factors, we give them the opportunity to choose funds from some of Legg Mason's highly regarded and long tenured investment managers," Donald E. Froude, head of U.S. distribution for Legg Mason, said in a statement.

"We are fortunate to work with a number of intermediaries with varying retirement-plan sizes across the country. This is part of our overall effort to continually evolve to serve the needs of advisors in all of our relationships," he added.

The "legacy" Legg Mason Funds that will begin offering R shares are:

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Legg Mason said other funds managed by its investment subsidiaries may offer R shares in the future. Also, the company will begin offer FI shares, or financial institutional shares, on some Legg Mason "Partners" funds.

Legg Mason has $891 billion in assets under management around the world, but the retirement market is a "relatively small" part of the business, the spokeswoman said.