, the State Street unit dedicated to the 529 college savings plan market, has inked a distribution pact with Harrisdirect
for its Education Plan. The plan is sponsored by the State of New Mexico
and administered by State Street.
Harrisdirect (formerly known as both CSFB Direct and DLJ Direct) will market State Street Education Plan as nationally through its Internet sites at Harrisdirect.com and http://harris.theeducationplan.com, according to Maryann Wasik
, managing director and head of product development for Harrisdirect.
Ralph J. Constantino
, chief executive officer of Schoolhouse Capital, said that Harrisdirect is an "ideal channel of distribution" for the plan and noted the firm will be able to use its online planning resources to educate consumers.
Still, whether the 529 plans can be sold in volume through direct sales channels, including the Internet, is as yet unproven. Many providers, including TIAA-CREF that runs the largest number of programs, have found financial advisors and face-to-face planning meetings to play a key role in the opening of college savings accounts with significant balances. Online brokers even tend to have smaller account sizes than traditional brokers for regular accounts.
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