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Waddell & Reed Augments 529 Marketing, Partners with BabyMint' Rebate Program

Waddell & Reed of Overland Park, Kan., has aligned with BabyMint, Inc., an Atlanta-based firm that offers consumers rebates on purchases to invest in any 529 college savings plan of their choice.

Currently, BabyMint customers are already investing in every active 529 plan on the market, said Bill Koleszar, a spokesman for BabyMint. That would mean that investors are already using BabyMint to invest in Waddell & Reed's Arizona-based InvestEd 529 program.

But the agreement has Waddell & Reed's 3,200 financial advisors listed in BabyMint's Web-based Financial Advisor Program, to bring greater visibility to InvestEd. In addition, BabyMint will supply Waddell & Reed's financial advisors with marketing materials.

The BabyMint program gives advisors a reason to call clients and talk about college savings, Koleszar added. "Literally, we've had dozens and dozens of advisors tell us how it's a non-threatening way to start the conversation," he said. "Advisors have not had a lot to call clients about over the last year. This gives them an opportunity."

Thomas Butch, chief marketing officer at Waddell & Reed, concurred with Koleszar, calling the program "a great enhancement for InvestEd."

BabyMint's network of more than 700 retailers, which provide rebates to customers of between 1% and 20% of their purchases, includes Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble and Macy's. BabyMint estimates that if a consumer spends $6,000 in a 12-month period in the program, he or she will have an extra $900 in his or her 529 plan, according to Koleszar.

"True, $900 is not going to make or break a 529 plan; it's simply a supplement. But that adds up over time," Koleszar said.