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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Giving families positive choices for their college savings

Investment lineup will avoid fossil fuels, tobacco, firearms and other products that cause social concern

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Rhode Island's CollegeBoundfund will begin offering a socially responsible investment option that eliminates exposure to fossil fuels when the 529 Plan college savings program transitions to new management this summer.

"Climate change, human rights and a range of other issues are coming to the forefront as factors that can impact investment value," said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, whose office oversees Rhode Island's $7 billion CollegeBoundfund 529 plan. 

"CollegeBoundfund's socially responsible investment option will eliminate exposure to fossil fuels and address societal ills while seeking to produce competitive returns for those who choose this option."

The socially responsible investment lineup will draw from a globally diversified portfolio of stocks that do not include oil, coal and gas producers, or utilities that use fossil fuels. It will also reduce exposure to investments in companies that produce tobacco, firearms and other products that cause social concern.

CollegeBoundfund's socially responsible investment vehicle will be just one of several investment options offered by the program once it transitions to new management. Plan participants will also have the choice to remain in traditional investment products, similar to those currently offered in the existing CollegeBoundfund lineup.

Last year, Treasurer Magaziner selected a leading global investment management firm and the nation's largest administrator of 529 college savings programs to administer CollegeBoundfund.

Invesco will manage CollegeBoundfund's investments. The firm has $791 billion in assets under management and is ranked among the highest-performing fund families in the nation.

Ascensus College Savings, the nation's largest independent retirement and college savings services provider, will manage CollegeBoundfund's customer service and online functionality for account management by account owners and financial advisors.

CollegeBoundfund's Advisor Plan will be the only Ascensus 529 Plan in the nation that offers a socially responsible investment option, putting Rhode Island on the forefront of socially responsible investing within the 529 Plan community, alongside the District of Columbia.

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.