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jrr7 -

You said: "I was grasping for a reason why they wouldn't recommend Vanguard and TIAA-CREF as custodians."

Could be any number of reasons... no local rep to provide service, nobody asked before, some vendors won't sign a "hold harmless" agreement, the teacher's union endorses another vendor, the school board chair's brother works for a competitor (only kidding).
Who knows?

In my experience many school districts that provide for voluntary contributions to 403b/403b(7) accounts often allow from six to thirty different vendors. The more vendors allowed, the more work for the bookkeeper to transmit payments... So some district set limits & are reluctant to force an employee to stop using their vendor in order to reduce the total number allowed as well as swap approved vendors.

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