egg Mason Wood Walker is rolling out a new nationwide 529 college savings program, the Legg Mason Core4College 529 Plan
, under a private label agreement with the state of South Dakota and PIMCO
, which won the national mandate.
The Legg Mason offering is comprised of a series of 15 investment portfolios, four of which are asset allocation models based on the number of years left before the beneficiary reaches college. As the beneficiary reaches a pre-determined age, the portfolios shifts to a more conservative mix.
The remaining 11 portfolios are based on underlying mutual funds, including small-, mid-, and large-cap U.S. equity funds, international equity funds, fixed income and money market funds. College savers can invest in one or more of these portfolios and can model their own asset allocation plan according to their needs, says the firm.
This plan will be distributed through Legg Mason's network of 1,400 Financial Advisors, most of whom work in the eastern half of the U.S., and Legg Mason Funds Investor Services
, the firm's direct mutual fund distribution arm, according to a spokesperson with Legg Mason.
Along with certain tax and estate planning benefits; beneficiary and income flexibility; and account control advantages, Core4College offers one of the highest maximum contribution limits in the industry -- $305,000 per beneficiary, according to the firm.
"The benefits of our 529 plan combined with Legg Mason's century-long history of providing sound financial advice enable us to introduce what we believe to be a superb product into the increasingly important 529 marketplace," says Mark R. Fetting
, president of Legg Mason Funds.
The firms managing the underlying mutual funds in the plan are Legg Mason Funds
Management, headed by Bill Miller
; Royce & Associates
, led by Chuck Royce
; Western Asset Management Company
; Brandywine Asset Management
; and Batterymarch Financial Management
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