BALTIMORE, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Legg Mason, Inc. (NYSE: LM) announced today that its Scholars Choice® College Savings Program has reached a significant performance milestone: Savingforcollege.com named it the #1 advisor-sold 529 plan for the three-year period as of December 31, 2011 based on investment performance, including the impact of fees. Equally important, this is the ninth consecutive quarter Savingforcollege.com ranked Scholars Choice among the top 4 performing advisor-sold 529 plans for a quarterly rolling one-year period.
"Tax-efficient savings vehicles like 529 plans are top of mind for parents as tax season draws near," noted Matt Schiffman, Head of Global Marketing for Legg Mason. "Scholars Choice delivers a proven track record backed by relatively low fees—a compelling combination for cost conscious college savers."
Founder and CEO of Savingforcollege.com, Joseph Hurley, commented, "Tax laws continue to create a favorable environment for 529s. Thanks to federal and state income tax benefits, 529 plans represent very attractive investment options for those families well-positioned to save. This applies doubly so in states granting substantial income tax deduction benefits on contributions made at the front end."
An independent informational website owned by JFH Innovative LLC, Savingforcollege.com is generally regarded by industry leaders as one of the leading experts on college savings. Scholars Choice is managed by Legg Mason's independent investment firm, Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, and distributed by Legg Mason Investor Services for the State of Colorado.
The Savingforcollege.com Plan Composite Rankings, which rank Class A Unit portfolio performance for a universe of advisor-sold 529 plans, apply to the rolling one-, three-year periods through the end of each calendar quarter.
Savingforcollege.com derives the rankings using each plan's relevant portfolio performance in seven unique asset allocation categories: 100% Equity, 80% Equity, 60% Equity, 40% Equity, 20% Equity, 100% Fixed and 100% Short Term. The plan's composite ranking is determined by the average of its percentile ranking in these categories. Within each category, portfolios are compared and ranked based on published investment returns. Separate rankings are produced for one-, three- and five-year periods. In addition, two versions of rankings for each performance period are produced: one based on performance without sales charges and the other based on performance with maximum sales charges. Please visit savingforcollege.com for more information about the ranking.
Additional unit classes may exist for each plan ranked. Please refer to each plan's program disclosure statement for more information regarding its performance, fees and expenses. For Scholars Choice's program disclosure statement, please visit scholars-choice.com.
About Legg Mason
Legg Mason is a global asset management firm with $627 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2011. Through its diversified group of independent investment affiliates, it provides specialized active asset management in major investment centers globally. Legg Mason is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, and its common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: LM).
About Scholars Choice
The Scholars Choice College Savings Program is the advisor-sold College Savings Program for the State of Colorado and is also used by investors and financial advisors throughout the U.S. It is one of the largest advisor-sold 529 college savings plans(1), with assets of over $2.6 billion as of December 31, 2011. Scholars Choice is managed by Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC and primarily distributed by Legg Mason Investors Services, LLC. It is one of the lowest-cost advisor-sold 529 college savings plans(2).
Scholars Choice offers seven Age-Based Portfolios, five Years-to-Enrollment portfolios, six Static Portfolios and three U.S. Treasury Zero-Coupon Bond Target Maturity Portfolios. Investment options encompass a wide range of carefully constructed portfolios consisting of funds managed by Legg Mason affiliates including Batterymarch Financial Management, Brandywine Global Investment Management, ClearBridge Advisors, Royce & Associates and Western Asset Management; and one unaffiliated fund managed by Thornburg Investment Management.
The ranking is based on short-term performance (i.e., rolling one-, three-year periods). The performance and ranking discussed are inherently limited and not indicative of longer-term performance. This information should not be the sole basis for any investment decision. Market volatility, interest-rate changes and economic events, among other factors, can affect an investment's short-term returns.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Current performance may be lower or higher than performance results used for this ranking, resulting in different rankings that may be lower than those shown.
An investor should consider the Program's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. The program disclosure statement at scholars-choice.com, which contains more information, should be read carefully before investing. If an investor or an investor's beneficiary is not a Colorado taxpayer, they should consider before investing whether their home states offer 529 Plans that provide state tax and other benefits only available to state taxpayers investing in such plans.
Investments in the Scholars Choice College Savings Program are not insured by the FDIC or any other government agency and are not deposits or other obligations of any depository institution. Investments are not guaranteed by the State of Colorado; CollegeInvest, Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC; Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC; or Legg Mason, Inc. or its affiliates, and are subject to investment risks, including loss of principal amount invested.
Scholars Choice is a registered service mark of CollegeInvest. CollegeInvest and the CollegeInvest logo are registered trademarks. Administered and issued by CollegeInvest, State of Colorado. Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC, Investment Manager. Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC is the primary distributor of interest in the Program; together, they serve as Manager of the Program. Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC; ClearBridge Advisors, LLC; Batterymarch Financial Management, Inc.; Brandywine Global Investment Management, LLC; Royce & Associates, LLC; Western Asset Management Company and Western Asset Management Company Limited; and Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC are Legg Mason, Inc. affiliates. Thornburg Investment Management, Inc. is not affiliated with Legg Mason Inc. and its affiliates.
(1) Source: Financial Research Corporation, "4Q11 College Savings Quarterly Update."
(2) Source: Financial Research Corporation, "529 College Savings Quarterly Fee Analysis, Fourth Quarter 2011."
SOURCE Legg Mason, Inc.