Home > Newsroom > News Releases

Filter by: Year Category Location Go

2007 News Releases

For Immediate Release

December 6, 2007

John Hancock Freedom 529 Lowers Annual Program Management Fee On Average 30 Percent

Plan surpasses $2.2 billion in assets under management as of 10/31/07

Boston– John Hancock College Savings announced today that it is lowering the annual program management fee for current and future John Hancock Freedom 529 Savings Plan account holders on a weighted average basis by approximately 30 percent, effective December 1. This is in addition to reductions in other fees and expenses. This change comes as the company passes $2.2 billion in assets under management.

The annual program management fee will decrease to 0.35 percent for A, B, C and C2 share classes and decrease to 0.30 percent for the JH Money Market Portfolio. In addition, the annual account maintenance fee has been lowered to $25. Some of the underlying funds and/or fund share classes are also being changed to reduce underlying fund expenses. Overall reductions in the total annual asset-based fees range from between 10 to 59 basis points, depending on the investment option.

Beginning Dec. 1, each fee will be displayed separately in the Plan Disclosure Document, allowing for easier comparison of fees among share classes. Currently the annual program management fee, trust fee and annual distribution and service fee are shown as an aggregated fee.

“When we surpassed $2 billion in assets under management, we became large enough to benefit from greater expense efficiencies,” said Diana Scott, senior vice president and general manager, John Hancock College Savings. “As a result we’ve been able to significantly lower fees, making our 529 plan a more competitive product and a greater value for advisors and their clients. This new fee structure, combined with our industry leading multi-managed approach, continues to position us as a key player in the college savings marketplace.”

John Hancock Freedom 529
John Hancock Freedom 529 is a national Section 529 college savings plan. John Hancock Freedom 529 is offered by the Education Trust of Alaska and managed by T. Rowe Price, and is distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC, through other broker/dealers that have a selling agreement with John Hancock Distributors LLC. John Hancock Distributors LLC is a member of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), formerly NASD, and is listed with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). The plan offers a multi-managed approach, allowing investors to work with their financial consultants to pursue a strategy to maximize their investment opportunities, while managing risk. Expanding upon the inherent advantages of a typical 529 savings plan, the product offers investment choices from some of the nation’s top mutual fund managers.

About John Hancock and Manulife Financial
John Hancock is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation (the Company), a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$399.0 billion (US$400.5 billion) as at September 30, 2007.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, fixed and variable annuities, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance.

If your state or your designated Beneficiary's state offers a 529 plan you may want to consider what, if any, potential state income tax or other benefits it offers, before investing. State tax or other benefits should be one of many factors to be considered prior to making an investment decision. Please consult with your financial, tax or other advisor about how these state benefits, if any, may apply to your specific circumstances. You may also contact your state 529 plan or any other 529 college savings plan to learn more about their features.  Please contact your financial consultant or call 1-866-222-7498 to obtain a Plan Disclosure Document or prospectus for any of the underlying funds. The Plan Disclosure Document contains complete details on investment objectives, risks, fees, charges and expenses, as well as more information about municipal fund securities and the underlying investment companies that should be considered before investing. Please read the Plan Disclosure Document carefully prior to investing.

529 plans are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not bank or state guaranteed.

- 30 -

Melissa Simon Berczuk
Phone: 617-663-4750
E-mail: mgsimon@jhancock.com