This state's adviser-sold 529 plan rates highest once again

A Colorado college savings plan gets top mark for 2010; rated No.1 for the past five quarters

By Liz Skinner

Feb 15, 2011 @ 4:21 pm (Updated 4:24 pm) EST

The Colorado college savings plan that Legg Mason Inc. sells through financial advisers topped the most recent one-year performance chart.

The three-month period ending Dec. 31 marked the fifth consecutive quarter that the Legg Mason Scholars Choice College Savings Program ranked first among adviser-sold plans based on investment performance including fees, said Laura Zimmerman, the firm's head of marketing. The $2.9 billion plan was created in 1999.

The ranking was done by Savingforcollege.com, which tracks the universe of 529 plans. The website issues a quarterly ranking based on a complicated analysis of investment performance across portfolios offered in the plan. It separates adviser-sold plans from direct plans and ranks each over three investment periods.

The rankings “give financial advisers important information to help them guide their clients through the college savings process,” said Joseph Hurley, founder and chief executive of Savingforcollege.com.

“Plans that are performing well tend to stay towards the top for consecutive periods,” he said.

The Legg Mason plan ranked 12th out of 26 plans for its three-year performance and 20th out of 21 plans for its five-year performance, according to the Savingforcollege.com listings.

Wells Fargo & Co.'s college savings plan for Wisconsin and Columbia Management Investment Advisers LLC's South Carolina 529 plan ranked second and third, respectively, among the 36 adviser-sold plans with one-year performance data, according to Savingforcollege.com.

The top adviser-sold performer over three years was MFS Investment Management's Oregon plan. Over five years, Waddell & Reed Inc.'s Arizona InvestEd plan topped the list.

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