In an attempt to distinguish themselves in order to win customers, asset management firms are increasingly offering institutional-quality investment choices in retirement plans, MarketWatch reports, populating 401(k) plans with hedge-like funds, commodities, real estate and other alternative investments.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies that used to focus almost solely on mutual funds start to make more moves into the institutional side of the market,” said Karen Remmele, a senior analyst at Cerulli Associates.

“They’re starting to fill the gap between traditional mutual-funds and hedge-funds,” said Meredith Jones, managing director of PerTrac Financial Solutions. “If they haven’t already, most mutual fund companies will be moving increasingly to offering at least some hedged products and alternative investments for their institutional customers.”

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