(A) The Ohio tuition trust authority shall adopt an investment plan that sets forth investment policies and guidelines to be utilized in administering the variable college savings program and investment options offered by the authority. The investment options shall include a default option to benefit contributors who are first-time investors or have low to moderate incomes. Except as provided in section 3334.20 of the Revised Code, the authority shall contract with one or more insurance companies, banks, or other financial institutions to act as its investment agents and to provide such services as the authority considers appropriate to the investment plan, including:
(1) Purchase, control, and safekeeping of assets;
(2) Record keeping and accounting for individual accounts and for the program as a whole;
(3) Provision of consolidated statements of account.
(B) The authority or its investment agents shall maintain a separate account for the beneficiary of each contract entered into under the variable college savings program. If a beneficiary has more than one such account, the authority or its agents shall track total contributions and earnings and provide a consolidated system of account distributions to institutions of higher education.
(C) The authority or its investment agents may place assets of the program in savings accounts and may purchase fixed or variable life insurance or annuity contracts, securities, evidence of indebtedness, or other investment products pursuant to the investment plan.
(D) Contributors shall not direct the investment of their contributions under the investment plan. The authority shall impose other limits on contributors' investment discretion to the extent required under section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.
(E) The investment agents with which the authority contracts shall discharge their duties with respect to program funds with the care and diligence that a prudent person familiar with such matters and with the character and aims of the program would use.
(F) The assets of the program shall be preserved, invested, and expended solely for the purposes of this chapter and shall not be loaned or otherwise transferred or used by the state for any other purpose. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the investment agents of the authority from investing, by purchase or otherwise, in bonds, notes, or other obligations of the state or any agency or instrumentality of the state. Unless otherwise specified by the authority, assets of the program shall be expended in the following order of priority:
(1) To make payments on behalf of beneficiaries;
(2) To make refunds upon termination of variable college savings program contracts;
(3) To pay the authority's costs of administering the program;
(4) To pay or cover any other expenditure or disbursement the authority determines necessary or appropriate.
(G) Fees, charges, and other costs imposed or collected by the authority in connection with the variable college savings program, including any fees or other payments that the authority requires an investment agent to pay to the authority, shall be credited to either the variable operating fund or the index operating fund at the discretion of the authority. These funds are hereby created in the state treasury. Expenses incurred in the administration of the variable college savings program, as well as other expenses, disbursements, or payments the authority considers appropriate for the benefit of any college savings programs administered by the authority, the state of Ohio and its citizens, shall be paid from the variable operating fund or the index operating fund at the discretion of the authority.
(H) No records of the authority indicating the identity of purchasers, contributors, and beneficiaries under the program or amounts contributed to, earned by, or distributed from program accounts are public records within the meaning of section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.
Effective Date: 08-15-2003; 06-30-2005