The Securities and Exchange Commission has settled a cease-and-desist proceeding against the Utah Educational Savings Plan Trust (UESP), but the action might be more noteworthy for the singular detail that the regulator has asserted itself in previously uncharted territory, rather than the fact that beehive state investors were bilked thousands of dollars.

"It's a warning shot to other 529 plans that the SEC will come in if they think there is anything amiss," said Kerry O'Boyle, a fund analyst at Chicago-based Morningstar. "It seems like the SEC was weighing whether to step in and risk getting into a turf battle with the NASD, or the MSRB [Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board], or state regulators, but it now looks like they will."

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