Thursday, January 10, 2008

529 - Part 11

Where can I find more information?

Offering Circulars for 529 Plans
You can find out more about a particular 529 plan by reading its offering circular. Often called a “disclosure statement,” “disclosure document,” or “program description,” the offering circular will have detailed information about investment options, tax benefits and consequences, fees and expenses, financial aid, limitations, risks, and other specific information relating to the 529 plan. Most 529 plans post their offering circulars on publicly available websites. The National Association of State Treasurers created the College Savings Plan Network which provides links to most 529 plan websites.

Additional Information About Underlying Mutual Funds
You may want to find more about a mutual fund included in a college savings plan investment option. Additional information about a mutual fund is available in its prospectus, statement of additional information, and semiannual and annual report. Offering circulars for college savings plans often indicate how you can obtain these documents from the plan manager for no charge. You can also review these documents on the SEC’s EDGAR database.

Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Website
Many college savings plans’ program managers are registered investment advisers. You can find more about investment advisers through the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website. On the website, you can search for an investment adviser and view the Form ADV of the adviser. Form ADV contains information about an investment adviser and its business operations as well as disclosure about certain disciplinary events involving the adviser and its key personnel.

Broker-Dealer Public Disclosure Website
You can find more about a broker through FINRA’s BrokerCheck website. On the website, you can search for any disciplinary sanctions against your broker, as well as information about his or her professional background and registration and licensing status.

Other Online Resources
You can learn more about 529 plans and other college saving options on FINRA’s Smart Saving for College website. The website contains links to other helpful sites, including the College Savings Plan Network and the Internal Revenue Service’s Publication 970 (Tax Benefits for Higher Education). FINRA’s investor alert on 529 plans also provides valuable information for investors.