has given a facelift to its college savings plan program. The changes include new investment options, reduced fees for its Nevada-based plan. It is also adding a dollar-cost averaging feature to all three of its 529 programs, including those in Oregon and Wisconsin as well as the Nevada program.
The changes to the plans are being made in response both to investor feedback and Strong's own market analysis, according to Sarah Henriksen
, director of Education Planning for Strong Financial Corporation. "In all, these changes make the plan even more flexible for investors," she added. "Using the exchange program can allow investors to dollar cost average into another investment option on a regular basis, perhaps monthly, while still adhering to the annual investment change rule."
Henriksen said the systematic exchange program (what Strong calls the dollar-cost averaging feature) would let shareholders move between any portfolios within the plan, not just from conservative to aggressive options. They will also now be able to move assets from fixed to age-based options and vice versa.
Strong will also now let college savings investors move from no-load investment options to advisor class options.
She expects that some investors will take advantage of the program to deposit all of their initial investment into the conservative option offered by Strong. They then would be able to slowly reallocate those assets to more aggressive options. That feature may be especially appealing to investors who are extra wary after three years of stock market losses.
Meanwhile, Strong also said that it is adding multiple age-based investment tracks to its Nevada-sponsored 529 plan. The new options include a conservative growth and an aggressive growth option. The original age-based option will be renamed Moderate Growth.
The plan also now sports reductions in its minimum additional investment, enrollment fee, and annual maintenance fees.
Strong is the administrators of the Strong 529 Plan (Nevada), the American Skandia College Savings Program (Nevada), the Oregon College Savings Plan (Oregon), the FACTS 529 Plan (Oregon), EdVest (Wisconsin), and tomorrow's scholar (Wisconsin).
Stay ahead of the news ... Sign up for our email alerts now