From the July 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

A New College Planning Tool

ChannelMining Solutions, a Boston-based strategic consultant to the financial services industry, recently launched a Web-based college-planning tool that advisors can use to help clients map out a college planning strategy. The tool, Education Funding Services (EFS), "is an advice-driven solution for financial advisors interested in offering clients a sustainable and tax-efficient plan for college funding," Channel-Mining said in a statement announcing the service. Advisors can generate client proposals with EFS's turnkey planning methodology, tailor the proposal using their own market knowledge and product research, and then help the client execute a savings and investing plan. The EFS system, ChannelMining says, can also assist broker/dealers with meeting new mutual fund and 529 plan suitability requirements, including determining whether such a plan is appropriate for a client and solving issues with choosing out-of-state 529 plans.

"Half of all college funding decisions are made 30 days before a student matriculates, which does not place families in an optimum bargaining position," said John J. Linnehan, president and founder of ChannelMining, in a statement.

In addition to the College Financing Wizard--which allows clients to custom-build a strategy for paying for college in five steps--the EFS planning tool offers comprehensive education funding information, from calculators and education cost projections to detailed comparisons of available investment vehicles. ChannelMining says its approach is product-agnostic, with links to independent ratings services and investment-specific fact sheets. Guidance on loans is also available, including a crash course on loan choices and repayment options.

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