Barclays Global Investors and Upromise Investments have introduced the iShares 529 Plan.
It'll be the first 529 plan designed with portfolios that invest exclusively in iShares Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and targeted specifically to fee-based advisory business.
The plan is a low-priced, no-load advisor sold option available only to fee-based advisors. Advisors can now apply many of the benefits of the ETF investment vehicle to the 529 market through three types of portfolios available in the iShares 529 Plan. These include: Year-of-Enrollment Portfolios, based on the amount of time until a child enters college; Asset Allocation Portfolios, based on risk profile or desired asset allocation; and Custom iShares Portfolios, based on individual investing choices in domestic equity, international equity, real estate or fixed income
"Upromise Investments believes that all families should be investing for college, and advisors serve a critical role in introducing their clients to the accessibility and advantages of 529s as they plan for their financial future," says Mark Chapleau, president of Upromise Investments. "Through the iShares 529 Plan, advisors with a fee-based advisory business enjoy access to an innovative, low-priced investment alternative as well as advanced user-friendly technology that will help them manage accounts. We are proud to be teaming up with BGI and our state partner Arkansas to bring this exciting product to the market."
Advisors will have access to the iShares 529 Plan through Upromise Investments' industry-leading administrative platform, the company's say, and its state-of-the-art record keeping platform and 529 QuickView "dashboard" provide advisors with easy access to accounts, information and management options.
In addition, Arkansas residents may benefit from state income-tax deductions of up to $5,000 per taxpayer annually ($10,000 for married couples).