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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff

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Legg Mason's Scholars Choice® College Savings Program Brings Home Gold

BALTIMORE, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Legg Mason, Inc. (NYSE:  LM) announced today that its Scholars Choice College Savings Program tops the podium as the #1 advisor-sold 529 plan for both the 3-year (including sales charges) and 5-year periods (including and excluding sales charges) and was also ranked #4 for the 1-year period (including sales charges), ending December 31, 2013. The program has repeatedly delivered solid performance over the past four years - Savingforcollege.com has ranked them among the top 4-performing advisor-sold 529 plans for 17 quarters in a row.

John Kenney, Head of Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation noted that, "On behalf of over 200,000 Scholars Choice client accounts, I'd like to particularly thank our Chief Investment Officer, Steve Bleiberg, Wayne Lin, and the rest of the team at LMGAA for the ongoing dedication and expertise that drives these results. While we are grateful for the recognition, it is particularly gratifying to know that our investment performance helps parents and others reach their college savings goals."

"Parents need assurance that their hard-won savings are invested appropriately," suggested Joe Hurley, founder of Savingforcollege.com. "Plans that consistently earn high marks with a robust return on investments deserve to be qualifiers."

Savingforcollege.com -- an independent informational website owned by Saving for College, LLC -- is generally regarded by industry professionals as one of the leading experts on college savings. Scholars Choice is managed by Legg Mason's independent investment firm, Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, and distributed by Legg Mason Investor Services, for the State of Colorado.

All Savingforcollege.com rankings are as of December 31, 2013 and are based on the universe of 30 advisor-sold plans for Class A share performance (including sales charges). The portfolios within the plans are compared and ranked based on published investment returns. The plan's composite ranking is determined by the average of its percentile ranking. The program ranked 4, 1, 1 and 9 for the quarterly rolling 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year periods, respectively. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The performance and rankings discussed are inherently limited and are not indicative of longer-term performance. Current performance may be lower or higher than performance results used for these rankings, resulting in different rankings that may be lower than those shown. Market volatility, interest rate changes and economic events, among other factors, can affect an investment's short-term returns.

Ranking Methodology 

Savingforcollege.com derives the rankings using each plan's relevant portfolio performance in seven unique asset allocation categories: 100% Equity, 80% Equity, 60% Equity, 40% Equity, 20% Equity, 100% Fixed and 100% Short Term. The plan's composite ranking is determined by the average of its percentile ranking in these categories. Within each category, portfolios are compared and ranked based on published investment returns. Separate rankings are produced for 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year periods. In addition, two versions of rankings for each performance period are produced: one based on performance without sales charges and the other based on performance with maximum sales charges. Please visit Savingforcollege.com for more information about the ranking.

Additional unit classes may exist for each plan ranked. Please refer to each plan's program disclosure statement for more information regarding its performance, fees and expenses. For Scholars Choice's program disclosure statement, please visit scholars-choice.com.

The ranking is based on short-term performance (i.e., rolling 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year periods). The performance and ranking discussed are inherently limited and not indicative of longer-term performance. This information should not be the sole basis for any investment decision. Market volatility, interest rate changes and economic events, among other factors, can affect an investment's short-term returns.

About Legg Mason

  • A leading global investment company, with $680 billion* in assets invested worldwide, focused on long-term, actively managed strategies
  • A diverse family of specialized investment managers, each with its own independent approach to research and analysis
  • Over a century of experience in identifying opportunities and delivering astute investment solutions to clients in equities, fixed income and alternatives

About Scholars Choice  

The Scholars Choice College Savings Program is the advisor-sold College Savings Program for the State of Colorado and is also used by investors and financial advisors throughout the U.S. It is one of the largest advisor-sold 529 college savings plans1, with assets of over $3.3 billion*. Scholars Choice is managed by Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC and primarily distributed by Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC. It is one of the lowest-cost advisor-sold 529 college savings plans2.

Scholars Choice offers seven Age-Based Portfolios, five Years-to-Enrollment portfolios, and six Static Portfolios. Investment options encompass a wide range of carefully constructed portfolios consisting of funds managed by Legg Mason affiliates including Batterymarch Financial Management, Brandywine Global Investment Management, ClearBridge Investments, Royce & Associates and Western Asset Management; and one unaffiliated fund managed by Thornburg Investment Management.

Important Information

An investor should consider the Program's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. The Program Disclosure Statement at scholars-choice.com, which contains more information, should be read carefully before investing. If an investor and/or an investor's beneficiary are not Colorado taxpayers, they should consider before investing whether their home states offer 529 plans that provide state tax and other benefits only available to state taxpayers investing in such plans.

Investments in the Scholars Choice College Savings Program are not insured by the FDIC or any other government agency and are not deposits or other obligations of any depository institution. Investments are not guaranteed by the State of Colorado; CollegeInvest, Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC; Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC; or Legg Mason, Inc. or its affiliates, and are subject to investment risks, including loss of principal amount invested.

Scholars Choice is a registered service mark of CollegeInvest. CollegeInvest and the CollegeInvest logo are registered trademarks. Administered and issued by CollegeInvest, State of Colorado. Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC, Investment Manager. Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC is the primary distributor of interest in the Program; together, they serve as Manager of the Program. Legg Mason Global Asset Allocation, LLC; ClearBridge Investments, LLC; Batterymarch Financial Management, Inc.; Brandywine Global Investment Management, LLC; Royce & Associates, LLC; Western Asset Management Company and Western Asset Management Company Limited; and Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC are Legg Mason, Inc. affiliates. Thornburg Investment Management, Inc. is not affiliated with Legg Mason, Inc. and its affiliates.

*As of 12/31/13.
1 Source: Strategic Insight, "4Q13 College Savings Quarterly Update."
2 Source: Strategic Insight, "529 College Savings Quarterly Fee Analysis, Fourth Quarter 2013."
©2014 Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC. Member FINRA, SIPC. Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC is a subsidiary of Legg Mason, Inc.
SCHX013129 409676 3/14 FN1410818

SOURCE Legg Mason Inc.

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