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529 prepaid plans assets edge down in 3Q 2014 [charts]

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Prepaid assets for 529 college funding plans dipped two percent in the third quarter of 2014, according to new research.

Strategic Insight discloses this finding in its latest report on 529 plan assets. The research is based on data provided by asset managers and state agencies. Strategic Insight collects information directly for 16 out of 19 529 prepaid plans captured in the report.

The research shows that prepaid 529 plan assets totaled $23.2 billion in the third quarter of 2014, down from $23.7 billion in the second quarter.

Open 529 prepaid plan assets decreased 2.0 percent in third quarter, but increased 5.6 percent since the third quarter of 2013. The total number of active accounts for 529 prepaid plans was 1,365,203 a 0.71 percent increase since 3Q 2013. Open 529 prepaid plans increased by 2.9 percent during that time period.

Of the 16 prepaid plans that provided the data components in third quarter of 2014, gross contributions (or new contributions) totaled $0.28 billion. Net sales are defined as gross contributions minus gross distributions.

The 3Q 2014 net sales were negative $0.34 billion, and so are reported as net outflows of $0.34 billion.

In comparison to other dedicated college savings investment options, total 529 savings plan assets were an estimated $217.2 billion as of 3Q 2014. This reflects a 1.5 percent decrease from 2Q 2014 assets of $220.6 billion and a 13.5 percent increase from 3Q 2013 assets of $191.3 billion.

Active accounts for 529 college savings plans increased 4.6 percent from 3Q 2013 to 3Q 2014, the report indicates. In comparison to other investment products, long-term mutual fund and ETF assets (excluding fund-of-fund affiliated) decreased 1.0 percent over the past quarter to $13,401 billion from $13,542 billion and increased 12.9 percent over the past year from $11,869 billion.

See the charts on the following page for additional highlights from the report.



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