September 19, 2016
The Office of the Illinois State Treasurer (“Treasurer’s Office” or “STO”) is issuing this Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for record keepers, investment management firms, financial services firms with specific experience, or similar businesses to serve as the Program Manager for the Bright Start Direct qualified tuition plan (“Bright Start Direct” or the “Direct Plan”). Bright Start Direct is administered by the Treasurer pursuant to Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Section 529” and the “Code”, respectively), and the Illinois State Treasurer’s Act (15 ILCS 505/16.5) (the “Act”). The Direct Plan is one component of the Illinois College Savings Pool (the “Pool”) for which the Treasurer serves as Administrator and Trustee.
The Treasurer seeks a Program Manager that will service Bright Start Direct, with the overall goal to provide a direct-sold plan that will be recognized as one of the best in the country based on the quality of the underlying funds, the breadth of investment options offered, and low fees. The Treasurer envisions selecting a Program Manager with the expertise and ability to offer a wide variety of investment options to new and existing plan participants capable of matching returns consistent with each participant’s risk tolerance and objectives.
The Treasurer intends to execute a program management agreement (the “Agreement”) for an initial term that is expected to commence on July 20, 2017, and run for a period of 5 to 10 years.
On June 20, 2016, the Treasurer released a Request for Information (RFI) regarding the structure and management of the Advisor Plans: Bright Start Advisor and Bright Directions. Responses to the RFI will assist the Treasurer’s Office in the structuring and/or re-structuring of the two Advisor Plans; and the branding and/or rebranding of the Advisor Plans. The Treasurer’s staff is currently assessing various options regarding the Advisor Plans. This RFP should not be construed as a request for bids on the Treasurer’s Advisor Plans.
Service providers (“Respondents”) must submit their responses to this RFP (“Responses”) by 2:00 p.m. CT on October 21, 2016.