Financial Research Corp., Boston, Mass., released 529 College Savings Plan results for first quarter, 2012. Total 529 savings plan assets were an estimated $158.3 billion, reflecting a 9.6% increase from Q4 2011 assets of $144.4 billion and 8.1% increase from Q1 2011 assets of $146.4 billion.

In contrast to other products, long-term mutual fund and ETF assets (excluding fund-of-fund affiliated) increased 10.6% over the past quarter from $8.9 billion to $9.8 billion and increased 4.9% over the past year from $9.4 billion. Estimated 529 net inflows were $2.9 billion in Q1 2012 compared to inflows of $2.4 billion in Q4 2011 and inflows of $3.3 billion in Q1 2011.

First quarter net inflows of $2.9 billion were an improvement from net inflows of $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter. From an industry asset level perspective, 529 saving plans continue to reach year-over-year all-time highs. Therefore investor interest in 529 plans and saving for education continues to rise.

Estimated 529 net inflows were $2.9 billion in Q1 2012 compared to inflows of $2.4 billion in Q4 2011 and inflows of $3.3 billion in Q1 2011 which reflects that investors continues to make saving for their education a priority.

In other industry news:

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, announced that Wendy C. Waugaman, chief executive officer and president, will take a medical leave of absence, effective immediately. John M. Matovina, chief financial officer, will serve as interim CEO and president during Waugaman’s absence.

Waugaman will remain on American Equity’s board of directors and will participate in certain management and strategic discussions as her health permits. Matovina has served on American Equity’s board of directors since 2000 and has served as vice chairman since 2003 and chief financial officer since 2009.

 

Prudential Group Insurance, a business of Prudential Financial Inc., appointed Andrew Sullivan, who currently oversees its Small Market Business segment, to lead its disability business, effective immediately. Sullivan’s new title is senior vice president, Disability and Small Market Business.

As head of the Disability Business, Sullivan will direct business strategy, oversee product development, underwriting and claims management, as well as the company’s absence management and return to work programs.

Sullivan joined Prudential Group Insurance’s senior leadership team in September 2011 as senior vice president of the Small Market Business segment. Previously he worked at CareFirst BCBS where he was senior vice president of the Consumer Direct Unit. Prior to that Sullivan was senior vice president, Individual & Small Group Health Segment at CIGNA.

 

Marina NarganesMassMutual Retirement Services Division has hired Marina Narganes as sales director effective May 7. Based in New York City, Narganes is partnered with Jason Carlough, managing director, increasing the company’s support for the under $10 million retirement plan business across New York City, Westchester and Rockland Counties, Long Island and Northern New Jersey.

Prior to joining MassMutual, Narganes spent seven years with John Hancock Life Insurance Company where she most recently served as regional vice president covering New York, Northern New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Narganes holds her NASD Series 6, 63 and NY Life Insurance licenses and reports to Shefali Desai, emerging market sales manager for MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division.

Andrew DeLoretoLincoln Financial Distributors, the wholesale distribution subsidiary of Lincoln Financial Group, Philadelphia, Penn. (NYSE:LNC), named Andrew DeLoreto national sales manager for the newly created Financial Institutions channel, within its Insurance Solutions Distribution business. DeLoreto will report to Tom Tooley, head of Insurance Solutions Distribution.

DeLoreto will lead all distribution efforts for its insurance solutions line in the Financial Institutions channel, and will focus on assisting advisors with issues centered on taxation strategies, retirement planning, wealth protection and wealth transfer.

DeLoreto joined Lincoln Financial in 1998 as a result of Lincoln’s acquiring of CIGNA’s Life business. At Lincoln, he served as a regional director for Lincoln Financial Group’s Life Brokerage division and continuously was promoted to positions of increased responsibilities in a sales and distribution leadership capacity. Prior to his current role, he was a divisional sales manager for LFD where he was responsible for managing key strategic partner relationships in the Managing General Agents and Wirehouse channels, a role he assumed in 2006. From 2005 to 2006, he was Regional Marketing Director in the Wirehouse channel, and from 2001 to 2004, he was a Sales Vice President in the Wirehouse channel.

DeLoreto earned a master of business administration degree with a concentration in finance from the University of Hartford in 1994; and a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut in 1988. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter; Chartered Financial Consultant; and holds life, health, variable, property and casualty licenses, as well as FINRA Series 6, 26, and 63.

 

Doug SchubertSecurian Financial Group, St. Paul, Minn., has appointed Doug Schubert, FLMI, to director, Retirement Plan Technology. Schubert’s responsibilities include oversight of the business technology unit for Securian’s retirement plan product line. He provides technological production support, project management, business analysis and quality assurance services associated with technology projects that support and enable key business initiatives. Prior to his promotion, Schubert was a manager in the same division. Schubert earned a bachelor’s degree from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. He joined Securian in 1984 as a programmer in the Information Technology department. He is a member of the Life Office Management Association, Society of Professional Actuaries and Record keepers (SPARK) and chairman of the board for White Bear-Mahtomedi Young Life.