Survey Shows Many Advisors Fail to Suggest 529 Plans to Clients
Effort Includes Array of Materials to Make Selling Easier
Boston – John Hancock College Savings has launched a “Back to School” Campaign, seeking to increase interest in 529 plans among affiliated advisors, as well as provide them tools so they can speak to their clients about planning to pay for college.
In a recent survey of top financial advisors, John Hancock found that although affording college is their clients’ second biggest financial worry about their children, more than four in ten (45%) advisors rarely or ever suggest 529 college savings plans to them.
“This research reinforces that we need to make it easier for our financial advisors to offer college savings plans to clients,” said Carey Foran Hoch, General Manager of John Hancock College Savings. “Helping clients meet their financial goals is what advisors do, and college is an important goal for many. Many times we hear that a discussion on 529 plans and college opens the door to other financial needs that the client has, and we think that all advisors could benefit from this type of business- and relationship-builder.”
John Hancock College Savings plans to send targeted direct mail and e-mail to affiliated advisors with ideas about business building with 529 plans, and how 529 plans can help their clients. The company has developed content and tools to help advisors start college savings discussions with clients, including the brand new magazine, “Admission: Navigating the Road to College.” The magazine helps parents prepare for college mentally and financially, and contains information for parents of children of all ages.
In addition, John Hancock developed promotional items to capture advisors’ attention, including pencil boxes and tent cards. The company also wrote and illustrated a unique picture book prospecting tool, “Oh! The Possibilities,” which shows young readers that anything is possible.
“If you want your children to go to college, you need to develop a plan early-on to fund part of the cost, and then save regularly toward your goal. Advisors are in a great position to be helpful in this regard, and we hope these creative tools will help catch their eye,” concluded Foran Hoch.
The advisor survey was conducted in May and June 2009 online among top advisors from different firms that sell John Hancock Mutual Funds. According to the profile of the more than 300 respondents:
About 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 FINRA 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 Financial and Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through 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$421 billion (US$362 billion) as of June 30, 2009. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ 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, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at www.johnhancock.com.
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. MLI08200911459
529 plans are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not bank or state guaranteed.
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