When Brenda McCauley was assigned to set up a retirement savings plan for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, she let would-be providers know that they would have to put employees' interests first.
In a letter inviting companies to submit proposals, she said the winning candidate would have to offer a wide array of investments and be prepared to discount its fees.
"We are responsible for assisting employees in helping to save for their retirement -- and making prudent decisions about the vehicles through which to do that," said McCauley, benefits manager for the medical center. "We do not want to present our employees with bad choices."
That attitude is standard among private, nonprofit firms that offer 403(b) plans -- tax-deferred saving vehicles similar to 401(k)s.
Unlike public school districts, which usually leave teachers on their own in picking 403(b) investments, hospitals, church groups, charities and colleges typically take pains to see that employees have a menu of sound options with reasonable fees.