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Unified managed accounts double marketshare

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Unified managed account programs have doubled their marketshare since 2008, according to Cerulli Associates.

The global analytics firm discloses in its 11th annual report, “Managed Accounts 2013: Moving Toward a Single-Platform Environment,” that unified managed account (UMA) assets garnered 7.7 percent of all managed account assets in 2012, double the 3.8 percent Cerulli recorded in 2008.

Unified managed accounts are managed investment accounts that have developed out of separate accounts. Whereas a separate account holds the securities associated with a single investment manager or style managed for a client, a unified managed account typically holds multiple separate accounts, as well as other investment products such as mutual funds and exchange traded funds.

Unified managed accounts also typically automate services such as rebalancing, cash flow management and other services that are typically handled manually by financial advisors or institutions when using a separate account.

The Cerulli report shows a steady rise in the marketshare of UMA assets since 2008.

“Existing UMA programs are experiencing rapid growth,” says Patrick Newcomb, a senior analyst at Cerulli. “New entrants in the space — whether through a new program launch or platform conversion — are aiding in the growth of UMAs.

“A common trend is managed account sponsor firms launching UMA programs while still offering legacy mutual funds advisory (MFA) programs,” he adds. “Previously, these firms were placing their clients in MFA programs even if the client’s account balance was $500,000. These accounts are more suitable in a UMA.”

The report observes also that net flows into UMA programs have also been rising since 2008, peaking at $32.4 billion in 2012. The total, however, remains smaller than net cash flows going into other managed account programs:


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