Managers of nonprofit health-care organizations say they will not cut employee retirement benefits, according to a study released last week by Fidelity investments.

The Boston-based mutual funds company took the temperature of 302 chief financial officers and managers in the nonprofit sector.

Fidelity found that while 66% of the respondents predicted their operating costs will rise in the wake of health-care reform, about 200 respondents said they "are not at all likely to reduce retirement benefits."

That's good news for banks and mutual fund companies, including Fidelity, that provide defined contribution plans.

These programs include 401(k) and the nonprofit equivalent 403(b) plans, which allow employees to shelter part of their compensation from taxes and save for the future at the same time.

Fidelity undertook the study to determine the impact of President Clinton's health-care reform package on retirement benefits.

The study found that "retirement benefits are essential to attract and keep quality talent," said Richard G. Malconian, president of Fidelity Investments Tax-Exempt Services Co.

Mr. Malconian's unit manages $6.7 billion of retirement assets for more than 8,500 nonprofit institutions.

Fidelity is the No. 1 provider of 401(k) plans and a leading plan provider for the nonprofit sector.

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