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Rating:Invesco Teams Up For a $7B 529 Comeback Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Invesco Teams Up For a $7B 529 Comeback

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Marty Flanagan and his team are returning at returning to the 529 business thanks to a $7-billion win with a new ally.

Martin L. Flanagan
Invesco Ltd.
President, Chief Executive Officer
Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner confirms that Ascensus and Invesco [profile] will be taking over the Ocean State's nearly-$7-billion CollegeBoundfund 529 program. A source familiar with the situation points to AB [profile] as the existing provider for the program.

MFWire could not immediately reach an AB spokesperson for comment on Rhode Island's move.

"After careful consideration, it was clear to us that Ascensus College Savings and Invesco offered the best opportunities for Rhode Island parents and families to save today so they can meet the rising costs of higher education tomorrow," Magaziner states.

Ascensus already works with 17 states on 529 programs, so Rhode Island will be number 18, and the firm supports more than 3.5 million 529 accounts. For Invesco, the Rhode Island win marks a return to the 529 space after half a decade. Invesco had managed the AIM college savings plan in Nebraska through 2009 and Van Kampen (which Invesco acquired in 2010) managed an Alabama 529 through 2010.

The Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund 529 program includes both an advisor-sold plan and a direct-to-consumer plan. Ascensus will handle administration, program management, and recordkeeping for both plans, as well as marketing, distribution, and grassroots communications outreach for the direct plan. Invesco will handle investments and the rest of the distribution.

"We'll provide all aspects of investment management services for the advisor and direct plans, and marketing and sales for the advisor plan," Invesco spokeswoman Jeaneen Terrio tells MFWire. "We'll offer a comprehensive lineup of both Invesco funds and PowerShares ETFs in the advisor plan and the direct plan."

The conversion is slated for June 30, 2016, by which time Ascensus will add 35 jobs and a new office, all in Rhode Island. And Invesco will be adding staff to support the program, too, though not necessarily in Rhode Island.

"We're expecting to add at least three marketing and sales professionals," Terrio says.

Jeff Howkins, president of Ascensus's college savings division, already has strong ties to the Ocean State.

"As a lifelong resident, I couldn't be happier about the prospect of creating jobs within my home state while also helping parents, grandparents, friends, and families to save for a child's higher education," Howkins states.

Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco, says he's "very pleased" to team up with Ascensus on the program.

"We're very excited to partner with Ascensus given their track record in the 529 industry ... [and] given their experience and expertise in marketing directly to Rhode Island residents," Terrio says.

"We're really excited about the partnership with Invesco," Ascensus spokeswoman Roberta Hess tells MFWire. "We're very excited to expand our locations into the state of Rhode Island. We're very excited to have the opportunity to serve the residents of the state of Rhode Island." 

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