State-Sponsored 529 Plans

State-Sponsored 529 Plans 2018-06-05T14:47:10+00:00

State-sponsored 529 college savings programs shoulder many responsibilities related to the successful ongoing execution of their program, such as making investment decisions, monitoring operational processes, and enhancing participants’ online experience in order to attract new accounts and increase contributions to existing ones. These obligations may be overwhelming and daunting, which is why they turn to firms like Gemini for their program’s management and administration. Our focus is to improve operational efficiency, increase participation, and enhance the overall experience for both the state and 529 plan participants, all at a competitive price.

The Gemini Difference

In addition to being a service provider, we are your partner. Gemini developed from Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) roots, and we remain close to this community. This background and continued connection means we deeply understand how to successfully distribute and market retail investment products. We are much more than just an administrator.

Gemini offers you and your participants comprehensive and engaged personal services and is backed by the financial strength of NorthStar Financial Services Group, whose combined size gives us the strength to enhance our relationships and maintain more robust tools and resources to empower our partners. Additionally, we are technology innovators who can improve your interactivity with your participants and connect you with a new generation of savers.

529 Plan Services

Increasing plan participation is a major 529 plan policy objective, putting a large focus on the enrollment and service experience, as well as marketing and distribution to increase awareness and plan reach. Accordingly, Gemini, in collaboration with our sister firms in the NorthStar family, offers both marketing leadership and supplemental support for 529 plans, and can act as the named distributor to support sales efforts and marketing compliance.

Specifically, through our shared services model, Gemini and NorthStar can provide your plan many valuable services including:

  • Governance and fiduciary solutions

  • Participant servicing and recordkeeping

  • Back and middle office function support

  • Regulatory compliance and oversight to meet industry standards and best practices

  • Full agency-level range of marketing support in a lead or supplemental capacity

  • Distribution support

  • Providing non-proprietary investment line-ups as the named advisor or with third party investment advisors

  • Custody and trading services

  • Dedicated client service for advisors and investors

The goal of a 529 college savings plan is to prepare families to send their children to college. But, that is an uphill task considering the majority of Americans don’t know what a 529 college savings plan is. For some states, taking their plan national is also an objective, but that requires significant investment in marketing and distribution. Also, since many workers are concerned about funding college, employers are looking to make 529 college savings plans more accessible to their employees.

No matter what the specific growth objectives are of your plan, Gemini and our partners in the NorthStar family have the experience to help. We have a deep lineup of marketing personnel, each with specialized knowledge that benefits our clients and the markets they serve. Specific services that we can provide to supplement and upgrade your marketing include:

  • Market research and strategy development
  • Brand awareness advertising
  • Responsive and impactful website development
  • Search engine optimization and search engine marketing to promote your plan’s site
  • Materials to support the education and sales process
  • Video, podcasts, infographics, and collateral

Customer experience is critical to retaining and increasing plan participation. Gemini offers electronic and paper enrollment materials to make it simple for parents and grandparents to enroll in your program. If a potential enrollee abandons the enrollment process, we can supplement your marketing with re-targeting advertisements to reach those people. If enrollees need a human touch, Gemini has call center personnel ready via chat or phone to help them complete the enrollment process.

Gemini’s scalable servicing model includes dedicated service teams that are trained to handle the special needs of each client, as well as cross trained to handle overflow workloads. Our call center personnel are regularly evaluated to ensure they are meeting or exceeding participants’ needs through methods like live call review, call quality metrics, and audits.

Website, Mobile, and Robo-Advisor

Gemini’s 529 participant web portal is mobile friendly, easy to navigate, and includes transactional and video capability. We also offer the industry’s first robo-advisor capability adapted to the 529 market.

Conversion

For state sponsored 529 programs moving plan administration over to Gemini, we have established a highly effective implementation process and built an experienced transition team to move the program seamlessly and swiftly.

Security of Information

NorthStar and its subsidiaries, including Gemini, have been issued a third-party certification for adherence to the requirements of ISO/IEC 27001 principles, a set of rigorous global information security management standards (ISMS) designed to reflect industry best practices for safeguarding confidential information against potential threats. This demonstrates our commitment to preventing unauthorized access and fraudulent use of confidential information.

Industry Participation

The state-sponsored 529 community has welcomed Gemini’s services for these savings plans. We have memberships in the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) and the College Savings Foundation (CSF), which, among others, allow for strategic thinking across the community, and are integral to the advocacy of 529 and ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) plans, as well as other state-sponsored initiatives.

Learn more about the investment services Gemini provides:

Fund Accounting
Fund Administration
Transfer Agent and Shareholder Servicing
Distribution
Printing

Let’s Talk

Contact a member of our team.