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A Mississauga, Ont.-based firm that manages, administers and distributes RESPs is winding down a plan in part because of the deferred sales charges, which contributed to a lack of sales growth.

Knowledge First Financial Inc. said Wednesday in a release that it will discontinue sales of the Impression Plan. (The plan was launched in 2003 by Heritage Educational Foundation, a subsidiary of Heritage Education Funds Inc., which Knowledge First Financial acquired in January 2018.)

While the plan has no upfront enrolment fees, it has deferred sales charges when clients leave the plan within the first six years, potentially affecting sales.

“Although individual RESPs are an excellent choice for consumers, the Impression Plan has not achieved its planned growth objectives,” said George Hopkinson, president and CEO at Knowledge First Financial, in the release. “We believe that winding down the plan is in the customers’ best interest.”

Via email, a firm spokesperson said a combination of factors contributed to a lack of sales, including “the existence of DSC which has fallen out of favour in the Canadian investment industry in general in recent years.”

The decision to discontinue further sales of the plan was approved at the board’s December 2018 meeting and is the first step toward fully winding down the plan, the release said. Clients have the option to transfer to another plan with the same flexibility in making contributions and withdrawals as the Impression Plan—and with no DSCs, the spokesperson said.