State Treasurer Attends Closing Bell at NASDAQ

Event featured World Trade Center Delaware and the Port of Wilmington

State Treasurer Colleen C. Davis visited the NASDAQ Stock Exchange on Monday with World Trade Center Delaware and the Port of Wilmington. The Treasurer and Delawareans attended the iconic Closing Bell ceremony at the Exchange, which celebrated Delaware’s significant contributions to the global economy.

“Delaware’s unique economic environment was on display to an international audience at the stock exchange on Monday,” said Treasurer Davis. “The collaboration between various industries, nonprofits, and governments makes our business atmosphere one-of-a-kind, and is one of the reasons that most companies are incorporated in our state.”

The Treasurer was interviewed by Nasdaq Inc. Director of Global Accounts, Rob Phillips, along with Carla Sydney Stone, President of World Trade Center Delaware, and Dave Harriss, Commercial VP of GT USA Wilmington, the operator of the Port of Wilmington.

Event participants traveled to New York City to meet with private equity investors and international companies with interest in trade, ports, and logistics, as well as attend the closing bell ceremony.


State Treasurer’s Office Brings Tableau Day to Delaware

Event encourages innovation in government

State Treasurer Colleen C. Davis, along with the University of Delaware and Tableau Software, a leading visual analytics platform, hosted an event for state government and university participants today. The event promoted data gathering and governance, while sharing interactive tools and visualization opportunities through engaging use case presentations from Delaware partners and hands-on trainings for beginner and intermediate users.

“Tableau Day is a great step in making data work for the residents of our state. Walking away from this event, participants can better gather and govern data, and they can take those rows of numbers and translate data into something easy for the public to understand, and use,” said Treasurer Davis.

The event was attended more than 75 participants across more than a dozen agencies of state government and the University of Delaware participants. Tableau Day featured presentations from the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (DSCYF), the University of Delaware, and the Office of the State Treasurer. Tableau led trainings for participants, and Navigator Management Software shared advice and examples of visual analytics use within public entities while promoting data governance.

In April, the Office of the State Treasurer released their interactive Available Income Calculator, created by staff using Tableau. The tool is hosted on Tableau Public, allowing other jurisdictions to use the framework and insert their own consumer data and tax information to make the tool specific to their residents. Since its release, the tool has been used more than 8,000 times.

“The success of the Available Income Calculator is a testament to the State of Delaware’s strong commitment to extending data transparency to their residents,” said Steve Spano, Regional Vice President, Public Sector at Tableau. “We’re delighted to team up with the Treasurer’s office to help other organizations around the state see and understand their data, and use visual data stories to communicate more effectively with their residents.”

Visual analytics products aim to make data useful, internally helping with measurement and decision-making, and externally providing a medium through which the complex can be made simple and readily available for residents. The University of Delaware presented on their efforts to create internal dashboards, while the DSCYF discussed the dashboards they created and have shared with the public to track and visualize data and performance of various programs overtime.

“With respect to technology, government is often viewed as being behind the private sector,” said Susan Steward, Office of the State Treasurer and a Tableau user. “But today we’ve proven that government is moving to the forefront of innovation in order to empower residents to interact with the state.”


DE529 Sees Improved Education Savings Plan Rating

Morningstar rating increased from Bronze to Silver in 2019

Following assessments and interviews, Morningstar, the nation’s premier plan rating group, has upgraded the DE529 plan from a Bronze to a Silver ranking. Delaware now joins an elite group of 13 Silver-rated plans.

“Through this elevated ranking, the leadership of the Plans Management Board and the hard work of our team are being noticed nation-wide for the service it provides residents,” said Treasurer Davis. “Being able to reduce our fees will make a big difference for participants and prospective plan-holders, and we hope to go for Gold in the future.”

A key component of Delaware’s high score was due to its administration – phasing out more expensive investment selections and adding a new offering of a blended investment option, which allows the accountholder to engage in both active and passive investment management. Additionally, DE529 is one of the lowest-cost educational investment options, and recently reduced administrative fees.

Morningstar conducts annual reviews of 62 plans, analyzing multiple categories within the given plan, as well as its management. Scores indicate a review of the plans’ investment options, management, contracted relationships, investment performance, and overall price of the plan. Only four plans receive a Gold rating from Morningstar.

Delaware’s 529 is a tax-advantaged savings plan that is available to the public, easy to open, and offer investment options so that savings may grow over time until they are used for associated costs including tuition, books, housing, apprenticeships and more. Learn more at 529.Delaware.Gov.


Fewer Fees for Education Savings with DE529

State continues to have one of the lowest-cost investment plans

Treasurer Colleen C. Davis announced today a reduction in fees for Delaware’s 529 Education Savings Plan. Already one of the nation’s lowest-cost savings plans, the reduction is estimated to save participants nearly $87,000 total each year and further incentivize new account openings in the Delaware plan.

“Helping our residents spend less to save is so important. Education is already expensive, and now participants can keep more of their investment earnings to use towards those costs,” said Treasurer Davis. “With no minimum to open an account, and some of the lowest fees nationwide, we’re working to make sure that people of all income levels can save for a better future.”

Fees vary based on the participant’s investment strategy and are collected to administer the plan. Participants do not need to take any action for the fee reduction, which began October 1.

The number of accounts in the Delaware 529 Plan have grown by 4% over the last three years, outpacing the industry nationwide. Nearly 22,000 accounts in the plan hold more than $686 million in investments.

Delaware’s 529 is a tax-advantaged savings plan that is available to the public, easy to open, and offer investment options so that savings may grow over time until they are used for associated costs including tuition, books, housing, apprenticeships and more. Learn more about at 529.Delaware.Gov.


Treasurer Davis Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Delaware ABLE Plan, Releases Video

Specialized savings accounts protect the benefits of individuals with disabilities.

Treasurer Colleen C. Davis is marking the first anniversary of the Delaware ABLE Plan by releasing a new awareness campaign and video. ABLE is a savings program for individuals with disabilities that ensures their ability to put away money and advance in life without risking their important government benefits. Without ABLE, saving money for the future or earning a fair wage can put a person’s ability to utilize Medicaid and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) at risk.

“During ABLE’s first year, the focus was on getting the program up and running. Now the groundwork is laid, and we are shifting our focus towards getting information about the plan into the hands of those who could benefit from it,” Treasurer Davis explained, “Our new awareness video is a great, sharable way for residents to learn about the program and how easy it is to sign up.”

During 2019 alone, Treasurer Davis and staff have reached over 3,000 people through direct, in-person outreach at dozens of events and community meetings. This week, a more broad online awareness effort begins with the release of a video about ABLE.

“Throughout my career, I have worked with thousands of people with disabilities seeking employment,” said Dan Madrid, Director of Policy and Performance Management and ABLE Manager in the Office of the State Treasurer. “They would tell me that they needed a job, but could only make so much, or needed a job that paid less. Several would obtain jobs and then have to refuse promotions and raises because of the asset limits associated with their benefits. With ABLE, they don’t need to hold themselves back anymore. They can have a stable, successful future – and we want everyone to know about the opportunity.”

The Treasurer has hope that Congress will help the plan expand as well. Davis is supportive of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would increase plan eligibility to those who incurred a disability by age 26 to those whose disability onset by age 46, making an estimated six million more Americans eligible for the important program. Treasurer Davis is strongly in support of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, and released an op-ed to encourage support and a joint statement with Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program allows for the creation of tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities without compromising eligibility for federal benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security. Delaware’s ABLE plan is administered by the Office of the State Treasurer. Learn more about Delaware’s ABLE Plan by visiting ABLE.delaware.gov.