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Tuesday, April 16, 2002

COLLEGE SAVINGS
May 29 is 529 Day

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Do college savings plans need their own day? Fidelity thinks that they do. The Boston Behemoth has unilaterally declared May 29th to by 529 day. Of course, the date makes some sense (think of May as the fifth month).

Fidelity is building a month long education effort around the date with the intent of giving the college savings program a kick start. The campaign includes 300 seminars for parents and others interested in the plans. The seminars will be held at the firms 85 investor centers.

The firm is also adding extra information on 529 programs to its Web site in May.

"Many investors are confused by the number of college savings options and the best vehicle to meet their goals," said Eric Nottonson, vice president of College Planning, Fidelity Personal Investments. "This educational campaign is designed to help families recognize the need to save early and regularly for their children's future education, as well as choose the vehicle that best meets their investment criteria and savings objectives. For many, the 529 College Savings Plan will be that choice," Nottonson said.

To date these plans have had a difficult time gathering assets. The assumption is that a large part of the problem lies in the public's lack of awareness about these plans. To that end, Fidelity is following the well-worn path of adding advisor and workplace distribution.

Fidelity rivals may find that the marketing heft of the Boston fund giant creating demand for non-Fidelity product. Typically, in a new market, individuals first learn about a product and only then begin to shop among alternatives.

Check back in June to see how it went.  

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