BALTIMORE, Jan. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Maryland 529, formerly College Savings Plans of Maryland, announced today that T. Rowe Price will continue, through 2024, as the Program Manager for the Maryland College Investment Plan (MCIP), one of two college savings plans that the State of Maryland offers.
Maryland 529 conducted a competitive procurement to explore all available program manager options and chose T. Rowe Price as the company that will best meet the needs of the MCIP Account Holders.
As part of its proposal, T. Rowe Price proposed a number of significant enhancements to the Plan that are expected to take effect with the new contract beginning on July 1, 2017. Key enhancements for MCIP Account Holders include (some of which will take effect July 1 and others to follow):
- Reducing the overall program fee from 13 basis points to 5 basis points and eliminating the $10 annual account holder fee
- Enhanced Online Account Holder Experience (online distributions, paperless statements, and online messaging)
- Online Gifting Center (a personalized experience for gift givers and Account Holders allowing online contributions)
- Smartvideo (personalized account holder video messaging)
- Online Employer Benefit Solution (employees of participating companies will be able to make contributions directly through payroll deductions)
- Enhanced Financial Literacy tools and content
Treasurer Nancy Kopp, Maryland 529 Board Chair, commented, "Since the inception of the Maryland College Investment Plan, T. Rowe Price has done an excellent job of managing the Plan through diversified investment strategies and high quality customer service. We are pleased that T. Rowe Price has made a concerted effort to reduce fees and introduce new offerings that will enhance the Account Holder's experience. We are pleased to partner with T. Rowe Price to continue to provide Maryland families with affordable, flexible, cost-effective options to save for college."
Scott David, head of T. Rowe Price Individual & Retirement Plan Services, commented, "We took the RFP process as an opportunity to present a series of new experiences for Maryland College Investment Plan Account Holders. T. Rowe Price continues to offer a college investment plan that is highly rated by Morningstar and is designed to meet Maryland college savers' needs. We look forward to working with Maryland 529 for another seven years."
Since its inception in 2001, the Maryland College Investment Plan has invested assets in excess of $4 billion and currently has 115,108 Account Holders, representing over 172,887 beneficiaries.
About Maryland 529
Maryland 529 offers two affordable and flexible 529 plans to help families save for the future cost of college. The Maryland College Investment Plan allows families to save as little as $25 per month and is managed by T. Rowe Price. The Maryland Prepaid College Trust allows families to save for tomorrow's tuition at today's prices for as little as a semester of college. Enrollment in the Prepaid College Trust is open from December 1, 2016 through April 24, 2017. The College Investment Plan is open for enrollment year round.
Maryland 529 Plans are the only 529 plans that offer Maryland taxpayers a Maryland State income tax deduction for contributions. To learn more about the options offered by Maryland 529 Plans, visit www.Maryland 529.com or call 1-888.MD.GRAD (463-4723).
Please carefully read the Enrollment Kit which describes the investment objectives, risks, expenses, and other important information that you should consider before you invest in the Maryland 529 Plans. The Enrollment Kit is available at www.Maryland529.com or by calling 888.4MD.GRAD. Also, if you or your beneficiary live outside of Maryland, you should consider before investing whether your state or your beneficiary's state offers state tax or other benefits for investing in its 529 plan.
Maryland 529, Administrator and Issuer T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Program Manager and Investment Advisor T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc., Distributor/Underwriter
Morningstar analysts reviewed 63 plans for its 2016 ratings (10/25/16), of which 3 plans received a "Gold" rating and 10 plans received a "Silver" rating. Morningstar analysts reviewed 63 plans for its 2015 ratings (10/20/15), 64 plans for its 2014 ratings (10/21/14), 2013 ratings (10/22/13) and 2012 ratings (10/15/12), of which 4 plans received a "Gold" rating. To determine a plan's rating, Morningstar's analysts considered five factors: the plan's strategy and investment process; the plan's risk-adjusted performance; an assessment of the individuals managing the plan's investment options; the stewardship practices of the plan's administration and parent firm; and whether the plan's investment options are a good value proposition compared to its peers. Plans were then assigned forward-looking ratings of "Gold," "Silver," "Bronze," "Neutral," and "Negative." Each year, certain of the industry's smallest plans are not rated. Morningstar analysts reviewed 58 plans for its 2011 survey, of which 6 plans received a "Top" rating, and 52 plans for its 2010 survey, of which 5 plans received a "Top" rating. Ratings for each plan were based on five factors: the quality of the underlying investment options; performance of those options; the skill of the managers of those options; the costs associated with each plan; and the stewardship practices of each plan's program manager. Plans were then assigned ratings of "Top," "Above Average," "Average," "Below Average," and "Bottom." To earn a "Top" rating, a plan must be best-in-class across all five areas.
Analyst Ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions. Analyst Ratings are based on Morningstar analysts' current expectations about future events and therefore involve unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause Morningstar's expectations not to occur or to differ significantly from what was expected. Morningstar does not represent its Analyst Ratings to be guarantees.
© 2016 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete, or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
ABOUT T. ROWE PRICE
Founded in 1937, Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (troweprice.com) is a global investment management organization with $812.9 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2016. The organization provides a broad array of mutual funds, subadvisory services, and separate account management for individual and institutional investors, retirement plans, and financial intermediaries.
The company also offers a variety of sophisticated investment planning and guidance tools. T. Rowe Price's disciplined, risk-aware investment approach focuses on diversification, style consistency, and fundamental research. For more information, visit troweprice.com or our Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook sites.
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SOURCE Maryland 529