Fidelity Cuts Fees, Makes Investment Changes for 529 Plans

Fidelity Investments has announced enhancements to its seven state-sponsored 529 College Savings Plans.

For direct-sold plans (The UNIQUE College Investing Plan, offered by the State of New Hampshire, California’s ScholarShare College Savings Plan, Massachusetts’ U.Fund College Investing Plan, the Delaware College Investment Plan, and the Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan), Fidelity has cut program management fees in half (15 basis points) for its index portfolios, and by one-third (10 basis points) across the plans’ active portfolios, according to the Fidelity announcement.

Total index portfolio fees now range from 0.25% to 0.35% of plan assets. Total actively managed portfolio fees now range from 0.59% to 1.04% of plan assets. All state-sponsored direct-sold plans continue to have no annual account fee, Fidelity said.

For adviser-sold plans (the Fidelity Advisor 529 Plan offered by the State of New Hampshire and California’s ScholarShare Advisor College Savings Plan), Fidelity has cut the program fee by one-third, with total fees now ranging from 0.84% to 1.48% of plan assets.

In addition, over the next 12 months, Fidelity will be adding new funds to its eight age-based portfolios. The Fidelity Emerging Markets and Fidelity Advisor Emerging Markets funds will be new additions to the direct- and adviser-sold plans’ age-based portfolios, respectively. The Fidelity Advisor High Income Fund is also being added to the adviser-sold plans’ age-based portfolios.

Fidelity-managed 529 Plans will also be increasing international equity exposure in both direct- and adviser-sold plans’ age-based portfolios from a current range of 0% to 20% to 30% of the overall equity allocation. The increase in international equity exposure will take place incrementally over the next 12 to 18 months and comes as part of a firm-wide enhancement across Fidelity’s asset allocation portfolios and online guidance tools, according to the announcement.