Making a bigger foray into the 529 college savings plan market, Putnam Investments was selected as the program manager for Nevada’s 529 College Savings Plan, which is sold nationwide through financial advisors, effective October 1.
The advisor-sold 529 program–to be called the Putnam 529 Plan for America–is expected to break new ground in the college savings industry in that it will offer a comprehensive tuition payment analysis tool to help further engage participation of families and individuals–working with their advisors–in the college savings process, as well as provide advisors with a dedicated portal to manage all Putnam 529 client plans with a single login. In addition, the program is expected to incorporate innovative investment strategies into its offerings.
Putnam has been managing Ohio’s 529 college savings plan for the past 10 years, but that contract ends as of Sept. 30.
Bob Reynolds, president and CEO of Putnam, told AdvisorOne in an interview on Thursday that Nevada’s desire to ensure the advisor-sold plan was “priced very, very competitively and the idea that [Nevada] wanted to have something very different than what’s in the 529 market, appealed to [Putnam] greatly.” More specifics about the advisor-sold plan will be available on October 1, Reynolds says.
Putnam is devoting lots of its time and resources to the retirement market, and Reynolds says that, like retirement, the 529 market–which is now $125 billion market with estimates projecting it will hit $200 billion over the next four years–presents a “big opportunity, and quite frankly, there’s a need to help people save for college.”
Regarding the lifetime income hearings held by the Departments of Labor and Treasury this week in Washington, in which retirement experts said that fiduciary liability and insurer insolvency are the biggest barriers to lifetime income adoption, Reynolds says lifetime income is “the next crucial part of retirement” that the industry must address. Putnam plans to release within the next 30 to 60 days a lifetime income product that uses alternative investments. “We think there are going to be ways to structure investments with alternatives that can create a lifetime income stream that provide you with annuity-type features without the guarantee of a company,” he says.
Putnam also plans to roll out by the end of September a new family of multi-cap funds, Reynolds says. “We came up with multi-cap growth, multi-cap core, multi-cap value….We think [the family of multi-cap funds] opens up the door for more flexibility from an investment standpoint, but also allows a better option for advisors working with their clients.”