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In 2023, the housing market reached unprecedented heights, with median home prices soaring to an all-time high of $389,800.

While mortgage rates reached 40-year highs there was still robust demand as the microeconomics of the market continued to put upward pressure on prices. Experts predict that this trend will continue into 2024, as mortgage rates are expected to decline due to the Federal Reserve’s plan to lower benchmark interest rates.

REITs, traded on stock exchanges, allow investors to gain exposure to real estate without direct property ownership. They distribute at least 90% of taxable income to shareholders through dividends. 

While real estate investment trusts (REITs) are popular for diversifying portfolios and generating passive income, the private real estate market also offers rewarding opportunities. They can have higher IRR with more active positions but carry increased liquidity risk. 

Finsum: Investors should be extra cautious of liquidity risk in high interest rates, but the returns could certainly be worth it. 

According to Cerulli, wealth management firms vying for high-net-worth clients should increase their focus on personalization and private markets. With traditional wealth management, it’s increasingly challenging for advisors to differentiate their services. Additionally, it doesn’t fully meet the needs of clients, especially given unprecedented amounts of uncertainty in terms of the economy, monetary policy, and geopolitics.

A consequence of this uncertainty is unpredictability in terms of return and risk in terms of major asset classes, highlighting the need for effective asset allocation. The report also showed that direct indexing is utilized by 55% of advisors who are looking to provide active management and customization to clients. 

The firm also projects growth for separately managed accounts given high net worth investors’ growing demand for customization and private market investments. As a result, these trends underscore the need for effective account aggregation and performance reporting. 

This enables the alignment of solutions across different areas such as financial planning, investing strategy, banking, estate planning, etc. Equally important, this type of comprehensive reporting and consolidation eases the transition to having higher allocations to alternative investments. 

Finsum: Cerulli conducted a survey of advisors and high-net-worth clients. The findings highlight the importance of providing access to private markets and personalized services.

Herbers & Co. conducted a survey of investors with more than $250,000 in assets and advisors to identify whether advisors’ offerings are effectively meeting clients’ needs. Among the findings, the biggest takeaway is that there is some misalignment between advisors and clients in certain areas. 

One change from the survey, compared to previous years, is that 90% of clients said effective tax planning is their highest priority. Previously, clients cited retirement, investment management, and cash flow as top concerns. Currently, only 73% of wealth management firms offer tax planning services. For advisors, it’s an opportunity to offer more comprehensive planning solutions that encompass cash flow, education, estate planning, investments, retirement planning, and tax management. 

Many wealth management firms self-identify as offering comprehensive planning, yet only 31% actually do so. This means planning for a client’s specific needs, such as business planning for business owners. 

The survey also revealed that a portion of clients are interested in alternative investments, including cryptocurrencies. The challenge for advisors is that most firms currently don’t offer advice in these areas. However, they are likely to get questions from clients, especially with the introduction of crypto ETFs backed by asset managers like Blackrock and Fidelity. Advisors should proactively prepare for these conversations. 

Finsum: A survey of clients and wealth management firms found that there are some areas in which advisors can do a better job of understanding and meeting client needs.

A portfolio’s outcome is driven by a variety of factors on factors like commissions, time horizon, and asset classes, with strategy being a key determinant shaped by each manager’s risk tolerance. While a more risk averse 60/40 strategy, allocating 60% to equities and 40% to fixed income, balances growth and stability, there are other ways to achieve those outcomes in a simplified manor. 


Structured notes, which combine various asset classes into one security, offer a way to achieve this allocation without multiple subscriptions, all while potentially reducing fees. But additionally structured notes offer flexibility, and actively managed notes can adjust based on market conditions, providing regular NAV updates. 


However, structured notes carry risks such as limited liquidity, market risk, and default risk, which can impact their performance and investor returns. Mitigating these risks can provide a competitive advantage in the market.

Finsum: The world of structured notes is vast, but they do offer the ability to simplify portions of an investment strategy and manage moving parts easier. 

Unified managed accounts (UMAs) are professionally managed accounts that allow for the use of multiple investment strategies. This makes it a more comprehensive approach than a separately managed account (SMA) which is typically used for a single, targeted strategy. 

As of the end of last year, UMAs accounted for 26% of assets in managed accounts. Growth in UMAs is due to multiple factors; however, two recent factors are improved pricing and an increase in the number of investment options. 

With UMAs, different strategies can be used to construct a customized client portfolio that leverages the best strategies across different asset classes and investment managers. This allows advisors to optimize portfolios by blending various strategies and selecting managers with the proper expertise. 

This means that an advisor could use different managers for different asset classes, such as domestic equities, foreign stocks, and fixed income. UMAs can also allow for more granularity, such as having one manager for a core equity position and another for dividend stocks. 

UMAs also provide a comprehensive view of a client's finances, which means that rebalancing strategies are more effective, and there is more potential for personalization. This includes the ability to add custom models to a portfolio along with third-party ones. 

Finsum: Unified managed accounts are experiencing rapid growth and provide advisors with a more holistic and comprehensive view of a client's finances. 

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