Standard & Poor’s, has announced that it is set to launch the U.S. market’s first ever SMA Awards program on March 29, 2005 at the annual Money Management Institute (MMI) Conference in Philadelphia. The SMA Awards program is designed to recognize outstanding separate account managers or teams in the U.S.

Teaming up with Standard & Poor’s and MMI to bring the Awards program to market is Prima Capital, the leading provider of objective research, due diligence and advisory services on separately managed accounts in the U.S., and Investment Advisor, the leading monthly magazine serving the SMA marketplace through financial planners, investment advisors, and other financial professionals nationwide.

On an annual basis, the awards committee will use Standard & Poor’s SMA Evaluator to choose the finalists and winners. Standard & Poor’s SMA Evaluator, powered by Prima Capital, provides comprehensive analytics, research and rankings on a relevant universe of managers. The tool, designed to help advisors make investment decisions with confidence, classifies, evaluates and ranks over 250 hand-selected money managers running over 550 SMA products in the United States.

Qualified money managers who are not currently participating in SMA Evaluator and are interested in being considered for an Award this year must submit their SMA product data to Prima Capital no later than February 1, 2005.

“With total assets in separately managed accounts (SMAs) estimated to reach $868 billion by 2006 , demand for comprehensive, independent separate account research to supplement advisor decisions has become essential,” explains Phil Edwards, Managing Director at Standard & Poor’s. “The SMA industry has matured to a point where quality portfolio management and quality SMA products deserve to be recognized by an independent authority and the media.”

“While historical performance is certainly a consideration in manager evaluation, other factors are vitally important in the prudent selection of suitable managers to fulfill a client’s investment mandate,” adds Gib Watson, President of Prima Capital. “The SMA Awards program will honor those quality firms and managers with identified, repeatable investment processes and superior, consistent performance over time.”

On March 29th, the full list of list of award winners, methodology, and other awards information will be available here at investmentadvisor.com as well as at . In addition, all SMA Award winners will be profiled in the April 2005 issue of Investment Advisor.