John Hancock Freedom 529 College Savings Plan reduces fees

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

John Hancock has lowered fees for the John Hancock Freedom 529 college savings plan, a national, multi-managed, strong performing 529 college savings plan sold through financial consultants, which recently surpassed $4 billion in assets under management. Effective June 9, 2014:

-- The Program Fee was lowered by 10 basis points for all portfolios, except the JH Money Market Portfolio which was lowered by 5 basis points, reducing the Program Fee for all portfolios to 25 basis points

-- The Distribution and Service Fee for Fixed Income and Short-Term Bond Portfolios was reduced by 10 basis points

-- Account holders who elect to receive account statements and transaction confirmations electronically are eligible for a waiver of the annual Account Maintenance Fee

In addition, effective September 2, 2014:

-- The maximum up front sales charge for Fixed Income and Short-Term Bond Portfolios will be reduced to 4 percent from 5 percent

-- The maximum up front sales charge for all other portfolios, including aged-based portfolios, will be reduced to 5 percent

"These fee reductions make our college savings plan more competitive and provide a greater value for advisors and their clients," said John Bryson, head of Product Management and College Savings, John Hancock Investments. "Ultimately, we strive to help families achieve their goals of improving their future through higher education; we're hopeful these actions not only help our current clients, but also attract interest on the part of prospective advisors and clients."

These 529 fee reductions follow other fee cuts within John Hancock Investments' mutual fund line-up. Over the past 2.5 years, John Hancock Investments reduced fees on 18 mutual funds.

"Saving and paying for college is a key goal for many families. John Hancock Investments is committed to our investors and these new fee reductions in our 529 college savings plan is just one way we are delivering higher investment value for them," said Andrew G. Arnott, president & CEO, John Hancock Investments.

John Hancock's multi-managed approach provides consumers with a choice of 22 investment options and access to more than 20 leading fund managers, offering a diversification(1) of asset class, investment style and fund manager all in one plan. According to savingforcollege.com's plan composite rankings of advisor-sold plans, John Hancock Freedom 529 ranked 2(nd) among twenty-two plans after five years not including sales charge, 3(rd) after five years including sales charge and 2(nd) among eleven plans after ten years, including and not including sales charges.(2)

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(1) Diversification does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate risk of loss. (2) Rankings are based on total return of Class A shares and, for the rankings including sales charges, reflect the maximum sales charge for each advisor sold 529 college savings plan. Savingforcollege.com advisor-sold composite rankings are derived using the plans' relevant portfolio performance in seven asset allocation categories: 100 percent equity, 80 percent equity, 60 percent equity, 40 percent equity, 20 percent equity, 100 percent fixed, and 100 percent short term. Rankings are determined by averaging the percentile ranking in the seven categories. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

John Hancock Freedom 529 If your state or your designated Beneficiary's state offers a 529 plan, you may want to consider what, if any, potential state income-tax or other benefits it offers before investing. State tax or other benefits should be one of many factors to be considered prior to making an investment decision. Please consult with your financial, tax, or other advisor about how these state benefits, if any, may apply to your specific circumstances. You may also contact your state 529 plan or any other 529 college savings plan to learn more about their features. Please contact your financial consultant or call 866-222-7498 to obtain a Plan Disclosure Document or prospectus for any of the underlying funds. The Plan Disclosure Document contains complete details on investment objectives, risks, fees, charges, and expenses, as well as more information about municipal fund securities and the underlying investment companies that should be considered before investing. Please read the Plan Disclosure Document carefully prior to investing.

John Hancock Freedom 529 is a college savings plan offered by the Education Trust of Alaska, managed by T. Rowe Price, and distributed by

John Hancock Distributors LLC through other broker/dealers that have a selling agreement with John Hancock Distributors LLC. John Hancock Distributors LLC is a member of FINRA and is listed with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). (C) 2014 John Hancock. All rights reserved.

529 plans are not FDIC insured may lose value and are not bank or state guaranteed

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife Financial, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$635 billion (US$574 billion) as at March 31, 2014. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers and administers a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at johnhancock.com.