Mstar Puts Out 529 Disclosure Tool for Advisors

August 14, 2006 ( - Morningstar has unveiled an online tool designed to help advisors clarify for investors the fees and state tax breaks associated with 529 out-of-state college savings plans, complying with a new regulatory rule.

A Morningstar news release said the 529 Suitability Manager was released in response to the disclosures required by the new Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) interpretation, which became effective August 7.  

Among other things, the new rule mandates brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers disclose the state tax benefits that would not be available to the investor as a result of putting money in an educational savings program based in another state.

The news release said the product creates disclosure reports that are populated by a Web-based interface. The advisor enters relevant information about the investor, and then prints summary charts and reports to help choose the most suitable 529 plan.

Features include:

  • a calculator to help determine the appropriate dollar amount the client needs to save.
  • a Morningstar Web report with prospectus, performance and underlying portfolio data.
  • a plan or portfolio investment detail PDF report.
  • three disclosure reports, including a summary report showing advisor-collected information (recommended plan, investment objective, risk tolerance, purchase and tax information, and portfolio allocation); a “Fees-you-pay” report disclosing all 529 costs; and a State tax benefits report disclosing the tax benefits of in-state 529 plans.

Morningstar said the new offering can be co-branded and licensed by institutions for their advisors.