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Commentary: Fourth quarter 2016 plan performance rankings
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/commentary-fourth-quarter-2016-plan-performance-rankings-1027

Posted: 2017-02-15

by Brian Boswell

Financial Professional Content

Each quarter Savingforcollege.com analyzes the investment performance figures for thousands of 529 portfolios and ranks the 529 savings plans from best to worst for one-, three-, five-, and 10-year investment performance. We rank plans that consumers can enroll in directly, as well as those sold through brokers and fee-based financial planners).

In producing our rankings, we compared the reported investment performance of a subset of portfolios from each 529 savings plan. We use a subset because plans vary greatly in their underlying investment options. We use a representative subset of options to compare plans on an apples-to-apples basis. The "performance score" determines the ranking. For more details, please view our methodology.

It is important to remember that this data represents historical performance. Past performance over any period is not a guarantee of future results.

Top performing 529 plans

For the most part those plans that have performed well continued to perform well. Two notable changes this quarter included the Florida 529 Savings Plan making significant headway over multiple time periods, placing in the top quartile of all direct-sold plans over one-, three-, and ten-year time periods as a result of strong relative performance in 4Q16. USAA, which has had volatile movements in its relative rankings over three- and five-years, nonetheless jumped 12 slots relative to its peers to become the top relative performer in 4Q16, and ranks in the top-ten over the ten-year period, making both plans challengers to stalwarts like New York and Michigan.

Plan Name (Direct Sold) Top Ten Periods (Years)
Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program 1, 3, 5, 10
New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 1, 3, 5, 10
District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 3, 5, 10
Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Savings Plan 3, 5, 10
Alaska: University of Alaska College Savings Plan 1, 5, 10
Louisiana: START Saving Program 3, 10
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 3, 10
Nevada: USAA 529 College Savings Plan 1, 10
Florida: Florida 529 Savings Plan 10
Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) 10
California: The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 3, 5
Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 1, 5
West Virginia: SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan 1, 5
Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 5
Maryland: Maryland 529 -- College Investment Plan 5
South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 1, 3
Tennessee: TNStars College Savings 529 Program 1, 3
Georgia: Path2College 529 Plan 3
Virginia: Virginia529 inVEST 1
Wisconsin: Edvest 1

Source: Savingforcollege.com

Itís worth noting that the District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Programs (Direct- and Advisor-sold) will be transitioning its program manager from Calvert Investment Distributors, Inc. to Ascensus College Savings. Calvert has managed the program since its inception in 2002, and has had some of the strongest relative returns in the industry over every time period. Ascensus has not yet announced a new investment lineup, though if their existing plan partners are any indication there will likely be a combination of low-cost indexed options from providers such as Vanguard and iShares, among others.

You can find the full performance rankings here.

Financial Professional Content

Each quarter Savingforcollege.com analyzes the investment performance figures for thousands of 529 portfolios and ranks the 529 savings plans from best to worst for one-, three-, five-, and 10-year investment performance. We rank plans that consumers can enroll in directly, as well as those sold through brokers and fee-based financial planners).

In producing our rankings, we compared the reported investment performance of a subset of portfolios from each 529 savings plan. We use a subset because plans vary greatly in their underlying investment options. We use a representative subset of options to compare plans on an apples-to-apples basis. The "performance score" determines the ranking. For more details, please view our methodology.

It is important to remember that this data represents historical performance. Past performance over any period is not a guarantee of future results.

Top performing 529 plans

For the most part those plans that have performed well continued to perform well. Two notable changes this quarter included the Florida 529 Savings Plan making significant headway over multiple time periods, placing in the top quartile of all direct-sold plans over one-, three-, and ten-year time periods as a result of strong relative performance in 4Q16. USAA, which has had volatile movements in its relative rankings over three- and five-years, nonetheless jumped 12 slots relative to its peers to become the top relative performer in 4Q16, and ranks in the top-ten over the ten-year period, making both plans challengers to stalwarts like New York and Michigan.

Plan Name (Direct Sold) Top Ten Periods (Years)
Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program 1, 3, 5, 10
New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 1, 3, 5, 10
District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 3, 5, 10
Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Savings Plan 3, 5, 10
Alaska: University of Alaska College Savings Plan 1, 5, 10
Louisiana: START Saving Program 3, 10
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 3, 10
Nevada: USAA 529 College Savings Plan 1, 10
Florida: Florida 529 Savings Plan 10
Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) 10
California: The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 3, 5
Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 1, 5
West Virginia: SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan 1, 5
Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 5
Maryland: Maryland 529 -- College Investment Plan 5
South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 1, 3
Tennessee: TNStars College Savings 529 Program 1, 3
Georgia: Path2College 529 Plan 3
Virginia: Virginia529 inVEST 1
Wisconsin: Edvest 1

Source: Savingforcollege.com

Itís worth noting that the District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Programs (Direct- and Advisor-sold) will be transitioning its program manager from Calvert Investment Distributors, Inc. to Ascensus College Savings. Calvert has managed the program since its inception in 2002, and has had some of the strongest relative returns in the industry over every time period. Ascensus has not yet announced a new investment lineup, though if their existing plan partners are any indication there will likely be a combination of low-cost indexed options from providers such as Vanguard and iShares, among others.

You can find the full performance rankings here.

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