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  • Writer's pictureRob Edwards

Separately managed accounts and their potential benefits to high-net-worth investors

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As your wealth grows, you may find that you seek more control, better transparency, and the ability to customize your portfolio to your goals, objectives, and values. While there are a number of ways to build a diversified portfolio — including individual stocks and bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds – separately managed accounts (SMAs) may offer unique advantages compared with other investment vehicles.

For many years, SMAs have been limited to just institutions and ultra-high-net-worth investors. For those investors who did not have access to an SMA, they may have been using less-optimal investment vehicles, like mutual funds. However, thanks to advances in technology, SMAs are becoming more widely available to a broader group of investors.

As financial advisors who work with high-net-worth investors, we believe SMAs are superior investment vehicles. As a part of our wealth planning approach, we generally recommend that investors consider the benefits of SMAs and how they can address their personal preferences, objectives, and risk tolerance.

What is a separately managed account?

A separately managed account is a type of investment advisory account that can hold a diversified mix of stocks, bonds, cash, and other individual securities, managed by a professional money manager, which can potentially be tailored to meet specific investment objectives — such as tax efficiency and the exclusion of certain securities from your portfolio. In a SMA you own individual securities and have the freedom and flexibility to tailor the portfolio to address your personal preferences — making your account “separate” and distinct from all others.

How can an SMA work for you?

Some of the most attractive features provided in a separately managed account include:

  • Direct ownership of securities: You own the securities purchased for your account. Your money is not pooled with that of other investors, providing you with significantly more control and transparency than a mutual fund.

  • Greater tax efficiency: The cost basis for each security in your portfolio is established at the time of purchase, so you are not subject to gains earned by other shareholders as you might be in a mutual fund. This enables you to coordinate year-end tax management with your tax professional.

  • Customization of your portfolio: SMAs are built based on your personal investment goals, objectives, and values — allowing you to exclude specific companies or industries that do not align with your social, political, or environmental principles.

  • Easy-to-understand fee structure: SMAs typically charge a single fee based on assets under management rather than load fees, management fees, and operating expenses charged by mutual funds.

Accessing SMAs at the Edwards Group

If you have $1 million or more in investable assets and are still utilizing a fund-heavy approach, it may be time to consider an alternative investment strategy.

Whether you are looking to maximize growth, generate retirement income, or pass your wealth efficiently to your heirs, the SMA-focused strategies at the Edwards Group can be utilized to achieve defined outcomes through thoughtfully crafted return and income objectives.

For a comprehensive review of your funds and to see if SMAs are right for you, visit to schedule a call with one of our experienced and trusted advisors.

Investment and Insurance Products: Not FDIC Insured / No Bank Guarantee / May Lose Value


The Forbes Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors Best-in-State rating algorithm is based on the previous year’s industry experience, interviews, compliance records, assets under management, revenue, and other criteria by SHOOK Research, LLC. Investment performance is not a criterion. Self-completed survey was used for rating. This rating is not related to the quality of the investment advice and is based solely on the disclosed criteria.

Fees for advisory programs include Advisory services, performance measurement, transaction costs, custody services, and trading. Fees are based on the assets in the account and are assessed quarterly. These fees do not cover the fees and expenses of any underlying exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, or mutual funds in the portfolio, which also carry inherent risks related to the product’s underlying investments. There are minimum fees and account sizes to maintain these types of accounts. Advisory accounts are not designed for excessively traded or inactive accounts and are not appropriate for all investors. During periods of lower trading activity, your costs might be lower if our compensation were based on commissions. We need to review your investment objectives; risk tolerance and liquidity needs before we introduce appropriate managers/investment programs to you. Please carefully review the Wells Fargo Advisors advisory disclosure document for a full description of our services, including fees and expenses.

Wells Fargo Advisors is not a legal or tax advisor. Be sure to consult your own tax advisor and investment professional before taking any action that may involve tax consequences. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2020-2023 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.


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