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Portfolio > Asset Managers

Unified managed accounts hit $289.8 billion in 2013

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Separately managed account assets grew by double-digits in 2013, according to a new report.

Cerulli Associates discloses this finding in the “The Cerulli Edge: U.S. Asset Management Edition.” The April 2014 release, which marks the 200th issue of the publication, examines trends respecting managed account, direct platforms, hedge funds, offshore fund distribution and mutual fund channels.

The report indicates that separately managed accounts totaled $762.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. This compares to $619.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Separately managed accounts encompass several program types, including subadvisory, open (dual contract) and open (proprietary). All three categories enjoyed asset gains in 2013, both during the fourth quarter and for the full year.

Unified managed accounts — a group including separately managed accounts, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other UMAs — also witnessed significant increases in 2013. In the aggregate, UMA assets hit 289.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. This is up a substantial 35.4 percent from the $214.1 billion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“UMAs have experienced the strongest growth, more than doubling their assets in the past two years, albeit off a smaller asset base,” the report states. “Their defining feature is model-driven separate accounts, in which the asset manager submits trades to the program sponsor, but the program sponsor optimizes the after-tax effect and places those trades.

“Despite their success, advisors remain reluctant to adopt these products, as the program sponsor often tightly controls the portfolio construction. [T]he push and pull between advisors and sponsors regarding portfolio construction in managed accounts continues to be a battleground for control.”

The Cerulli survey also reports fourth quarter year-over-year gain in other managed account asset programs. Among them: mutual fund advisor, ETF advisory, rep as portfolio manager and rep as advisor.


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