is jumping into the 529 game through the state of Alaska. The previous program for the state had been administered and managed by T. Rowe Price
and was rolled out in late Spring. The new program, Manulife College Savings
will be offered nationally and distributed by ManuLife. Both firms will manage investments in the program.
Partnering with ManuLife, which offers distribution through financial advisors, positions T. Rowe to make a "considerable impact" in the 529 space, said John Cammack
, managing director for Third Party Distribution at T. Rowe Price, in a statement.
Cammack said that ManuLife approached T. Rowe Price early in the process when the fund firm was seeking entry into state programs and offered to act as a distribution partner. "We talked early and it made sense to both party's," he explained.
"This is our entry into the 529 market," Matthew Schiffman
, vice president, College Savings at ManuLife told the MutualFundWire.com. The product will be sold nationally and the savings in the plan can be used at accredited colleges and universities nationwide. "We think that it is a very big market," said Schiffman, adding that the firm has received "very positive feedback from distribution partners for a multi-manager product."
The partnership plays off of T. Rowe Price's investment strength and ManuLife's broad distribution, according to Schiffman. He added that the program is also different from others in bringing a multi-manager investment offering to consumers. ManuLife uses subadvisors for its investment options. The program also offers a relatively high $250,000 maximum contribution.
He added the the firm is in the process of educating its 180 person wholesale force so those people can turn around and introduce the program to ManuLife's financial intermediary sales force.
ManuLife also has "very aggressive" plans for building out the US college savings department and is "well along the way" of staffing it, he said. It is also in the process of adding outbound telemarketing sales efforts.
Stay ahead of the news ... Sign up for our email alerts now