529 Distribution Analysis Report
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Now in its 12th year, the annual 529 Distribution Analysis Report provides actionable guidance on how to increase the use of 529 plan products and education financial planning in the adviser-sold, employer-sold and direct-sold channels. This report sheds light on education savings distribution by incorporating data from a new and deeper proprietary survey of financial advisers fielded in October, 2021. The report also draws on insights from interviews with advisers, financial professionals, and broker-dealer home-office product executives who support and lead fleets of financial advisers.

This year’s study offers a deeper analysis by comparing 2021 results to prior proprietary ISS Market Intelligence adviser surveys fielded in 2009 and in the years between 2011 and 2020. The longer survey period allows us to analyze whether advisers are getting the message and to better determine what advisers require from legislative, product, and marketing and distribution perspectives in order to increase 529 plan usage.

Additionally, the proprietary survey analyzes new industry trends, such as the impact of COVID-19, Regulation Best Interest, the CARES Act, the SECURE Act, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, ESG investment options, and potential legislation in the pipeline, while expanding the analysis of longer-term opportunities, such as the employer channel, fee-based advisory, and investment lineup enhancements in demand. Based on information collected from advisers, families and institutions, the last chapter examines the key components of a strategic distribution roadmap to better initiate and re-engage current distribution channels and to expand into new ones.
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Key Themes
  • Details legislative, product, marketing and distribution initiatives 529 product providers and distributors can execute to add value in the intermediary channel with both advisor- and direct-sold products.
  • Analyzes new industry trends such as the impact of COVID-19, Regulation Best Interest, the CARES Act, the SECURE Act, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, ESG investment options, and potential legislation in the pipeline.
  • Expanded analysis of longer-term opportunities such as the employer channel, fee-based advisory, and investment line-up enhancements in demand.
  • Reviews key drivers of 529 market participants and provides takeaways to help product providers, distributors and broker-dealer home-office executives increase adviser usage of college savings plans and education financial planning.
  • Evaluates 529 industry market sizing, advisor satisfaction levels, and enhancements in demand to understand what will drive and maximize industry growth over the long term.
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529 Distribution Analysis