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Tuesday, September 24, 2002

A 529 Price War?

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Delaware Investments is touting lowered costs in its 529 college savings program. The firm runs the plan for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Rene Campis, executive vice president and head of the program, explained that the firm is dropping the fees to bring them in-line with industry standards. The reduced fees also reflect a drop in the annual operating expenses of the Diversified Growth and Diversified Value funds that underlie many of the portfolios in the program. The expenses on those funds were sliced to 75 basis points from 120 bps in August.

In the Pennsylvania plan, the firm is dropping both the per account administration fee for accountholders and its annual management fee. It is also reducing the sales fee charged on class A shares in the program.

Delaware is cutting the annual account fee in half -- to $25 annually from $50. That reduction is retroactive to August 1. The program management fee for the portfolios using the two funds will drop 5 bps to 35 bps, and the sales charge is to fall 5 bps to 25 bps.

"The vast majority of TAP 529 Investment Plan investors will immediately see a reduction in the charges they pay," said Campis. "Our product now is not only more competitive, it's a better deal for those who use it to invest for higher education." 

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