Record Q4 sales spur 529 growth

Data compiled by Financial Research Corp. (FRC) shows 529 savings programs logging $5.1 billion in 2006 fourth quarter net sales, a 24% increase over net sales of $4.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005. This record performance comes on the heels of a weak Q3 in which only $0.8 billion in net sales was reported.

Total assets in 529 savings programs stood at $90.7 billion at December 31, 2006, an increase from $68.4 billion at year-end 2005.

Anectodal evidence suggests that 2007 first quarter sales will continue strong. The Pension Protection Act of 2006, which granted permanent tax-free status to qualified 529 withdrawals, is being credited for at least some of the 529 contributions surge. (Quarterly net sales can also be significantly influenced by the level of withdrawals from 529 plans to pay for college.)

FRC projects five-year growth to bring total 529 savings assets to $257.7 billion by the end of 2011.
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