The NEST Direct Plan and the NEST Advisor Plan were awarded bronze ratings in a recently released analysis of state-sponsored college savings plans by Morningstar, a leading provider of independent investment research. This year, Morningstar analysts rated 63 of the largest 529 college savings plans nationwide, of which 33 earned a gold, silver or bronze medal, while 27 received neutral ratings and three were rated as negative.
According to Morningstar, medal-winning plans offer a combination of the following attractive features: a strong set of underlying investments, a solid manager selection process, a well-researched asset-allocation approach, an appropriate set of investment options to meet investor needs, low fees and strong oversight from the state and program manager. Gold-rated plans have all or a majority of these attributes, while silver- and bronze-rated plans embody most of these qualities.
“We are honored that the NEST Direct Plan and NEST Advisor Plan were recognized by Morningstar as two of the 33 top 529 plans offered in the country,” said Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of NEST. “It’s nice to know that our goal of providing families with safe, affordable and flexible college savings plans is being recognized by a highly regarded authority.”
“Helping children reach their full potential, while easing their future financial burdens, remains the focal point of NEST 529 college savings plans,” said Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha. “Receiving a Morningstar medal solidifies our customer-oriented mission. We continue to take steps in the right direction and encourage families to invest in our Direct and Advisor plans.”
Each year, Morningstar assigns Analyst Ratings to college-savings plans based on five key pillars: Process, People, Parent, Price and Performance. When evaluating 529 plans, Morningstar also takes into consideration the unique benefits plans offer to college savers, including local tax breaks, grants and scholarships.
Regarding the NEST Direct Plan, Morningstar specifically noted the Plan’s “solid underlying manager lineup and low price tag.”
Morningstar said the NEST Advisor Plan is a “solid mix of age-based and stand-alone options coupled with low fees.”
In addition to the Morningstar bronze rating, the NEST Direct and the NEST Advisor plans are ranked in the top ten for one-year investment performance for 529 college savings plans by savingforcollege.com. In an analysis released in September, the NEST Direct Plan ranked fifth in the list of top performing direct-sold 529 plans, and the NEST Advisor Plan ranked sixth in the list of top performing advisor-sold 529 plans.
The website, savingforcollege.com, also has awarded its highest “5-Cap” rating to both the NEST Direct and the NEST Advisor plans.
“These ratings help explain why we have added more than 20,000 new NEST accounts each year for the last six years. We very much appreciate the trust and confidence our college savers have placed in our NEST plans,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the Bloomwell 529 Education Savings Plan, and the State Farm 529 Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. Union Bank & Trust Company serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 285,000 accounts, including over 94,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.
About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have more than $23 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.