Advisors - September 17, 2020
New on YCharts: Separately Managed Accounts (SMA) Data
Separately managed accounts (SMAs) can offer investors more transparency, control and strategy customization than mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs).
Also called ‘individually managed accounts’ or simply ‘separate accounts’, SMAs are investment vehicles made up of individual holdings and overseen by an asset management firm. Unlike mutual funds or ETFs, separate accounts provide investors with direct ownership of their underlying securities.
That said, due to investment minimums of $100,000 or more, the advantages of separate accounts are likely accessible to only their target audience: relatively high net-worth individuals. While that may sound restrictive, SMAs were actually first created to give individual investors a level of personalized service and management that was formerly limited to institutional clients.
Separately Managed Accounts have been added to the YCharts platform, providing advisors with a centralized, researchable database of nearly 10,000 SMAs from dozens of asset managers. With SMA data and YCharts’ existing research and communication tools, advisors can offer their clients more investment options and better explain benefits and drawbacks when presenting or comparing separate accounts. Jump to ‘Using YCharts to find and compare SMAs’
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Advantages of Separately Managed Accounts
Unlike mutual funds or ETFs, SMAs offer outright ownership of individual securities. As a result, investors see transactions within their SMA in real-time and performance reports show details for each underlying security. In contrast, mutual funds disclose transactions at the end of every month and their reporting commonly shows only fund-level performance.
With separate accounts, investors can achieve better tax efficiencies by implementing tax-loss harvesting—realizing losses on specific positions without exiting the overall investment strategy. Additionally, SMAs help investors avoid capital gains distributions and the performance effects of fund flows, both common mutual fund drawbacks.
Investors using SMAs can work with their advisor to personalize the asset allocation and risk management within the separate account. Specifically, individual securities can be excluded if the investor already owns that stock and doesn’t want additional exposure, or if they have ethical reasons for avoiding companies or industries. SMAs can also be customized for environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) needs.
The table below summarizes the main differences between SMAs, mutual funds and ETFs.
Separate Account Trade-Offs:
As mentioned previously, investment minimums for SMAs typically start at $100,000. But investing only the minimum comes with relatively higher fees, as SMA expenses are tiered—an account with only $100,000 in assets would pay relatively higher fees than a separate account with $500,000 in assets. Since SMAs don’t issue registered prospectuses like those of mutual funds, exact fee structures are found in the Form ADV Part 2, which you’d need to contact the asset manager to access.
Using YCharts to find and compare SMAs
YCharts provides access to key data for nearly 10,000 SMAs, from dozens of asset managers, that can be evaluated and compared with powerful research tools and customizable reports. YCharts’ SMA dataset will also soon be expanded to include professionally-managed model portfolios.
SMA Quote Pages and Data Coverage
Separate account data on YCharts includes performance, risk, allocation and exposure metrics, plus other SMA attributes like manager tenures, fees, and benchmarks. You also have the ability to drill-down further and evaluate SMA holdings with YCharts’ expansive data coverage for stocks, mutual funds and ETFs, further bolstering your due diligence.
Every SMA Quote Page gives access to key stats, more detailed tabs for Performance, Allocations and Holdings, and the ability to create and download PDF-based SMA reports. See an example quote page for the BlackRock WDP Tactical Equity SMA below:
YCharts’ Overview and Comparison Reports are sales and conversation enablers that create an engaging, personalized client experience. All Custom Reports are PDF-based, customizable with firm logos and colors, and help you discuss the advantages and suitability of separate accounts with clients and prospects.
A particularly valuable capability, Comparison Reports put two SMAs—or an SMA and a mutual fund or ETF—head-to-head so that you can work with clients to identify the best investment options for their needs. See an example below, or access a Sample SMA Report.
Just as with mutual funds and ETFs, the YCharts Fund Screener enables you to filter our universe of 10,000 SMAs to find top performers, asset allocations that match a client’s goals, and target or avoid exposure to specific securities.
To help you find opportunities in separate accounts even faster, we’ve added pre-built screens that align with common investment goals. For example, the Growth SMAs screener template automatically finds separately managed accounts in the large, mid, and small-cap growth categories, and presents you with important metrics to further evaluate them. See below:
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