Cradle to Golden Years:
Education Savings for a Lifetime

2024 Annual Conference
March 19-21, 2024

Hotel Bardo
700 Drayton Street


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

2:00 pm–5:30 pm | Conference Registration

2:00 pm–5:00 pm | Board Meeting (CSF Board Members only)

5:30 pm–7:00 pm | Opening Reception

Sponsored by: Franklin Templeton

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

7:30 am–8:30 am | Breakfast            

Sponsored by: Capital Group

All Day Beverage Services

Sponsored by: Ascensus

8:30 am–8:45 am | Welcome to the CSF Conference

CSF Chair: Chris McGee, General Counsel, Virginia529

8:45 am–9:45 am | Keynote Speaker

Introduction: Rich Polimeni, Managing Director, Head of Education Savings
Programs Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Speaker: Alicia Rainwater, The Center for Generational Kinetics

We work in a time of unprecedented generational change and challenge. From the cradle to the golden years, there are now multiple generations making use of 529 savings plans. Furthermore, we have four different generations that work in the education savings industry. At The Center for Generational Kinetics, we know that strategies that work for one generation can be a complete turn-off for others. This divide is a costly challenge—but it can be a breakthrough opportunity. It all depends on how you and your leaders respond now.

In Unlocking the Potential of Generations, Alicia Rainwater, speaker for the Center for Generational Kinetics will help you address the multigenerational challenge. She will reveal new generational truths about Gen Z and Millennials based on The Center’s latest research. She will share surprising data, powerful frontline stories, hidden trends, and specific solutions that drive measurable results. You will leave with new ways to effectively reach Gen Z and Millennial employees and the Gen Z and Millennial parents who are saving for the next generation.

9:45 am–10:30 am | FAFSA Simplification: What We All Need to Know 

This session will highlight significant changes to the FAFSA process, form, and methodology resulting from implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act. As we navigate the evolving federal financing landscape, come hear what you need to know about the many positive FAFSA Simplification changes impacting families saving through 529 accounts as the presenters consider how the changes impact American families saving in 529 college savings accounts; the perceived “winners and losers”; and how we strengthen our messaging to further encourage families to utilize 529 accounts as their college planning strategy.

Moderator and Panelist: Julie Shields-Rutyna, Senior Director of College Planning, Education, and Training, Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA)


  • Jill Desjean, Senior Policy Analyst, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  • John Hupalo, Founder & CEO, Invite Education

10:30 am–10:45 am | Break                                     

Sponsored by: Virginia529

10:45 am–11:30 am | Financial Literacy – Insights to Optimize Financial Wellness, Literacy, and Educational Opportunities

Session panelists will share critical insights to bringing greater awareness to the financial literacy needs of families and our youth. Today more than ever families are looking for comprehensive solutions to meet their evolving financial and educational needs. Panelists will discuss the importance of deepening awareness in the K-12 curriculum, providing trusted financial guidance and support, and removing stigmas and emotions to deliver desired results and outcomes.

Moderator: Josean Fernandez, Director of National Accounts, Ariel Investments


  • Joel Murray, Director, Client Success, LifeCents
  • Joanne Dashiell, Chief Marketing Officer, Private College 529
  • Julie Weaver, MD Council on Economic Education

11:30 am–12:15 pm | Roth Rollovers are open! How’s it going?

This session will include a discussion of the Secure 2.0 529/Roth Rollover requirements, a review of questions from the field, a brief overview of metrics so far, and customer perspectives. There will be an opportunity to ask the panelists your questions, too.

Moderator: Rob Percival, SVP Strategic Relationships, Orion


  • Carolyn Bishop, Chief Operations Officer, Virginia529
  • Rob Forshee, Product Manager, Capital Group.
  • Mike Hadley, Partner, Davis and Harman LLP

12:15 pm–1:30 pm | Lunch                                

Sponsored by: Vestwell

1:30 pm–2:30 pm | Capital Market Update – Market Outlook in a Challenging Economy

This session will include a market outlook on a range of asset classes leveraging view of the network of asset managers for John Hancock Investment Management, including risks and opportunities with the markets and the outlook for 2024.

Introduction: Deb Smith, Director, John Hancock Investment Management
Speaker: Emily Roland, Co-Chief Strategist, John Hancock Investment Management

2:30 pm–3:15 pm | Preparing 529s for the AI Revolution

The modern era of AI began a little over a year ago with the launch of ChatGPT, the first consumer product to reach 100M users in less than 2 months. Since then, every “big tech” company has responded aggressively with their own chat-based AI solution, and a wave of new startups have been founded to bring the power of large language models (LLMs) to all industries. How will LLMs affect the 529 industry? Join us for a wide-ranging discussion of how AI could reshape 529s over the years to come.

Moderator: Scott Morrison, Head of Product, Backer


  • Carolyn Bishop, Chief Operations Officer, Virginia529
  • Richard Ellis, Executive Director, my529
  • Jordan Lee, CEO, Backer and Saving For College

3:15 pm–3:30 pm | Break                         

Sponsored by: NY Life

3:30 pm–4:30 pm | Tales from the field: The state of intermediary-sold 529 business as told by Advisors

Do investors even need advisors when it comes to college savings? Why pay for active management? Is commission-based business dead? Are proprietary Plans back? Should investors simply opt for the in-state Plan, or should all States offer tax parity? Is “selling” 529 Plans still too burdensome to make it worthwhile for Advisors? Answers to these and other “third-rail” questions are the topic of this panel discussion — and we’ll take your questions during a Q&A.

Moderator: Steve Jobe, Senior Vice President, Vestwell State Savings


  • Mark DiSipio, 529 Sales Leader, Vice President, Blackrock
  • Jim Hicken, Regional Vice President, Financial Advisor, Primerica, Pittsburgh, PA

4:30 pm | Adjournment

5:30 pm–7:00 pm | Evening Reception at Hotel

Sponsored by: TIAA

Thursday, March 21, 2024

7:30 am–8:30 am | Breakfast

Sponsored by: Orion

8:30 am–9:30 am | Federal Legislative Issues/Regulatory Update

CSF’s lobbying firm gives their perspectives on all aspects of the changes in Washington on 529 specific issues.

Moderator: Leslie Crudele, Government Relations Director, VA529

  • Reagan Anderson, Senior Vice President, Capital Group
  • Mike Hadley, Partner, Davis and Harman LLP
  • Barbara Pate, Partner, Davis and Harman LLP

9:30 am–10:30 am | Emerging Trends in Higher Education, Admissions/Financial Aid, and Student Success

Dynamic panelists will share insights into how higher education is working toward increasing student success, return on investment, and collaboration between academia and industry, while further meeting student financial aid needs. While the media often focuses on America’s waning confidence in higher education, this session focuses on encouraging news that you can take back and put to use.

Moderator: Ed Kaminski, Corporate Vice President, Business Consultant, New York Life Stable Value


  • Dr. Ale Sosa Pieroni, Executive Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing, and Student Success, Georgia Southern University
  • David Richardson, Head of Research, TIAA

10:30 am–10:50 am | Break and Check Out (20 minutes for check out)

Sponsored by: John Hancock

10:50 am–11:35 am | Performance and Ratings

Given the panorama of 529s available to investors, how does one assess the important differentiations between each plan? Our panelists from Morningstar and Saving For College address this and other questions with insights into their 529 rating methodologies, an overview of the current landscape, and a discussion on what strategies they’d like to see as Plans continue to compete for top ratings.

Moderator: Paul Curley, CFA, Director, ISS Market Intelligence


  • Martha Kortiak Mert, Chief Operations Officer, Saving For College
  • Adam Millson, Associate Director, Morningstar

11:35 am–11:45 am | Closing Remarks

CSF Chair: Chris McGee, General Counsel, Virginia529

11:45 am | Adjournment / Bag Lunch to Go

Sponsored by: Invesco and Goldman Sachs