Now in its ninth year, this annual study provides actionable guidance on how to increase the use of 529 products in the adviser-sold, employer-sold and direct-sold channels. With this report, Strategic Insight (SI) further expands on its education savings distribution study with a new and deeper proprietary survey of financial advisers, conducted in November 2018, that incorporates insights from interviews with both advisers and broker-dealer home-office product support executives who support and lead fleets of financial advisers.

This year’s study provides a longer analysis by comparing 2018 results to prior proprietary SI adviser surveys fielded in 2009 and in the years 2011 to 2017. The longer time period allows us to analyze whether the advisers are “getting the message” and to better determine what advisers require from a legislative, product, marketing and distribution perspective to increase usage. The study also includes data from a 2018 SI 529 proprietary survey of consumers1, as well as from recent PLANADVISOR and PLANSPONSOR surveys. Based on information collected from advisers, families and institutions, the last chapter examines the key components of a strategic distribution roadmap to re-engage current distribution channels and to expand into new ones.