Barclays Global Investors and Upromise Investments recently launched the iShares 529 Plan, the first 529 plan designed with portfolios that invest exclusively in iShares Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
According to Barclays, iShares 529 Plan was developed in response to strong demand from advisors seeking access to other 529 plan options. The plan is a no-load option that is available only to fee-based advisors, who 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--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," said Mark Chapleau, president of Upromise Investments, in a statement.
Advisors will have access to the iShares 529 Plan through Upromise Investments' administrative platform, according to a company release. Fees for portfolios in the iShares plan range from 0.5% to 1.1%, depending on the investment strategy. Additionally, Barclay's iShares plan is connected with the state of Arkansas, and residents of the state will benefit from state income tax deductions.