Colorado Narrows 529 Provider Hunt
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Friday, July 09, 2004

Colorado Narrows 529 Provider Hunt

Colorado has narrowed down its 529 search down to two providers, repors Giovanni Greco, chief operating officer of CollegeInvest. CollegeInvest, the division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education responsible for the state's 529 plan, will ditch current manager Citigroup Asset Management.

Although CollegeInvest stated in RFP materials that it intended to "award one contract for intermediary and direct distribution, including in-state and national markets," the agency has entered into dual negotiations with two providers, said Greco.

The selection committee will meet on July 19th and will finalize contract negotiations during the week of July 26th, said Greco. If both providers are picked, CollegeInvest will likely award one provider the direct-sold plan and the other the intermediary-sold plan, Greco added.

Colorado Shops Around
Colorado's 529 Plan Statistics (3/31/04) Assets ($mil) Accounts
Total $1,435 196,712
In-state $324 34,272
Out-of-state $1,112 162,440
Direct-sold $205 23,049
In-state $181 18,932
Out-of-state $24 4,117
Intermediary-sold $1,230 166,940
In-state $142 13,968
Out-of-state $1,088 152,972
Source: CollegeInvest website
Notes: There is a discrepancy between total direct and intermediary-sold accounts and total accounts.
CollegeInvest issued a request for proposal for a new provider in April. The term of the contract is for at least five years.

Joe Hurley, the 529 expert behind, commented that the state is being tight-lipped on the search.

CollegeInvest also stated in its RFP materials that it is looking for a "multi-manager product and…would not add investment managers to those proposed by a Bidder," although reserving the right to add a manager or more investment options in the future.

The current program offered by Citigroup includes proprietary mutual funds and funds from the American Funds and MFS families.

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