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Friday, November 20, 2015

Magaziner picks management company for state college savings fund

Low cost, high returns were leading criteria

PROVIDENCE – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today announced the selection of a leading global investment management firm and the nation’s largest administrator of 529 college savings programs to manage Rhode Island’s CollegeBoundfund.

Invesco will manage the investments of the state’s $7 billion CollegeBoundfund 529 program, providing all aspects of investment management services for both the advisor and direct plans, and marketing and sales for the advisor plan. 

The Atlanta-based firm has $791.3 billion in assets under management and operates in more than 20 countries. It is routinely ranked among the highest-performing fund families in the nation.

Invesco has agreed to an exclusive relationship in which Rhode Island’s CollegeBoundfund will be the only 529 plan it works with and promotes.  

Newton, MA-based Ascensus College Savings will manage the administration of CollegeBoundfund, including recordkeeping, customer service and online functionality for account management by account owners and financial advisors. Ascensus is the largest independent retirement and college savings services provider in the nation.

“I am very pleased to announce that the Rhode Island Treasury will partner with Invesco and Ascensus to manage and strengthen our state’s CollegeBoundfund,” Treasurer Magaziner said. “Invesco is one of the world’s most respected investment management companies, known globally for their high-performing and low-cost investment products. Invesco brings an extensive national sales network that will help the CollegeBoundfund maintain its position of national leadership.”

Magaziner continued: “In addition, I am pleased to partner with Ascensus, who will manage the administration of the CollegeBoundfund program, including technology, customer service and compliance. Ascensus is deeply experienced in 529 program management – with more than 13 years of experience supporting 31 other state plans.”

CollegeBoundfund was launched in 1998 to help Rhode Islanders affordably save for college. Investments and growth earnings can be used at accredited colleges, universities, vocational school and trade schools across the nation and offer a simple way to save and invest for a child’s college education. It is currently the seventh largest 529 college savings plan in the country, with more than 300,000 accounts and $7 billion of assets under management.

“We are very pleased that Rhode Island selected Invesco and our partner Ascensus College Savings to manage the CollegeBoundfund college savings plan,” said Martin L. Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco. “Our long-standing reputation for providing leading products, value-added services and extensive coverage makes us well suited to provide highly-rated plans for investors in Rhode Island and nationwide.”

Ascensus to open Rhode Island office

To demonstrate its commitment to Rhode Island, Ascensus has pledged to create 35 new Rhode Island jobs and will open an office in the state by June 2016. The firm has started to evaluate potential office locations, with plans to hire marketing, customer service and other specialists in college savings who will serve other parts of the country from Rhode Island.

“We look forward to working with the State of Rhode Island and Invesco to help Rhode Islanders achieve their college savings goals,” said Jeff Howkins, president of Ascensus College Savings. “As a lifelong resident of Rhode Island, 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.”