Pershing adds 529 plan to its platform

Advisers will be able to open accounts for clients; single accounting for all investments seen as a plus.

Original Article: Investment News, By Liz Skinner, April 8, 2012

Pershing LLC is making it easier for its advisers to open college savings plans for clients, starting with the nation’s largest Section 529 plan.

This month, advisers will be able to use the Pershing platform to open accounts for clients in the CollegeAmerica plan sponsored by Virginia and administered by American Funds. That plan has $30 billion in assets. In addition, advisers will be able to include those assets in a client’s portfolio along with his or her other accounts, said Rich Calvario, Pershing’s vice president for product development.

Advisers have been asking for such omnibus accounting abilities, and many are expected to use the capability, he said. Although he wouldn’t cite figures, he said it was expensive for Pershing to make the plan available and took most of a year to roll it out.

“One of the biggest challenges for advisers is the effort involved in selling a 529 plan,” Mr. Calvario said. “We expect the steps we’re taking to make it easier for advisers to do the business will have an impact on the amount of business they do.”

Pershing expects to give advisers access to two additional 529 plans through its omnibus system by the end of the year, he said. Advisers won’t pay for this benefit and there won’t be any charges to customers or the investor, Mr. Calvario said.


Dave Hanson, branch manager of the Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. office in Wheaton, Ill., is one of the advisers who told Pershing it would help if he could open 529 plan accounts through its system.

“If money flows through Pershing, we’ll see a clearer picture of where it’s going and when it’s invested,” Mr. Hanson said.

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