FINSUM

FINSUM

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Direct indexing has many advantages, such as lower costs, boosting after-tax returns, and providing more flexibility to clients. However, some advisors are failing to properly implement the strategy, which means some portion of the benefits are not being realized. 

According to Barret Ayers, the CEO of Adhesion Wealth, advisors should offer direct indexing through unified managed account (UMA) frameworks. Currently, only 2% of direct indexing assets are managed through UMAs, with the majority in separately managed accounts (SMAs) or as a standalone model.

By going through a UMA, tax-loss harvesting strategies can be fully implemented and optimized. With standalone accounts, or SMAs, it’s burdensome to manage rotations out of losing positions or transfer holdings when necessary. As a result, many losses cannot be captured due to penalties or restrictions on wash sales. 

Another benefit of direct indexing through a UMA is that advisors can most effectively leverage core-satellite strategies to build a portfolio. This entails a core portfolio allocated to indexing with smaller pockets of higher-risk, higher-return investments in inefficient asset classes. Within a UMA, this strategy's efficacy can be maximized as it allows for efficient rebalancing, changes in asset allocation, and reduced time spent on administration.


Finsum: While direct indexing is surging in popularity, many clients and advisors are failing to fully take advantage of its benefits. Here’s why direct indexing in a UMA is the best approach.

TIAA, a provider of lifetime financial solutions, has unveiled a new gauge aimed at showcasing the potential income augmentation for recent retirees who integrate an annuity strategy into their financial plans, in contrast to solely adhering to the 4% rule. The TIAA Annuity Paycheck Advantage gives retirees an idea of how their retirement package might differ with annuities rather than the strict 4% rule. 

 

According to TIAA's calculations, a 67-year-old retiree in 2024 could potentially witness a 32% upsurge in their initial retirement income by designating a third of their savings to lifetime income through the TIAA Traditional annuity, coupled with a 10-year guarantee period and withdrawing 4% from the remainder. Kourtney Gibson, TIAA's chief institutional client officer, described the TIAA Annuity Paycheck Advantage as a guiding principle for new retirees, offering the promise of elevated guaranteed payouts and heightened certainty regarding retirement expenditures. 

 

TIAA intends to annually revise its Annuity Paycheck Advantage index to reflect the contemporary influence of lifetime income on the financial well-being of Americans.


Finsum: While the 4% rule can be a good benchmark, a slightly more complicated strategy can lead to better retirement outcomes for clients

There have been constant rumors swirling that UBS intends to sell its US wealth management unit. In part, it’s due to the bank’s North American wealth management unit delivering lower returns than its peers and UBS’ wealth management units in other geographies. 

Another factor is that European regulators are reportedly looking to impose increased capital requirements for banks with foreign subsidiaries. The unit has also been underperforming, with profit declining by 31% in Q1 and its cost-to-income ratio more than 20% above UBS’ other geographies. Advisor headcount also declined from 6,147 to 6,079. 

During UBS’ Q1 earnings report, CEO Sergio Ermotti dismissed reports that a sale was on the horizon despite these challenges. He sees a presence in North American wealth management as integral to UBS’ ambitions of being a global bank, adding that “shrinking back to greatness is not a strategy.”

Instead, UBS plans to keep investing in its North American wealth management business, identifying it as a ‘key… growth market’. It believes that over the next 3 years, UBS can shrink the profitability gap with its competitors. Part of its growth strategy is to more aggressively refer investment banking customers to wealth management. 


Finsum: Despite middling results from its North American wealth management unit, UBS dismissed speculation that the unit could be sold. Instead, it plans to invest in the unit and hopes to narrow the profitability gap with peers over the next 3 years.

Saturday, 11 May 2024 08:04

Tax Advantages of SMAs

A feature of separately managed accounts (SMAs) is that investors directly own securities, compared to an ETF or mutual fund. This makes them more tax-efficient, as investors have more opportunities to harvest tax losses and capitalize on volatility. In contrast, mutual funds, or ETFs, offer much more limited opportunities.  

With SMAs, tax losses can be harvested even in years with positive returns, as securities that are down can be sold. These losses can be used to offset gains and reduce an investor's overall tax bill. Positions can be rebought after 30 days to avoid wash sale restrictions, or stocks with similar factor scores can be purchased instead. 

Unlike mutual funds, SMAs are not subject to embedded capital gains. Embedded capital gains mean that an owner of a mutual fund is liable for capital gains depending on a position’s cost basis. This means that an investor in a mutual fund could be liable for capital gains, even if they have a loss on the position. 

In stressful markets, mutual funds can see distributions of capital gains if there is a surge of redemptions, adding to the risk of a capital gains tax bill in concert with a losing position. With SMAs, this risk is nonexistent since securities are directly purchased. Instead, there is more flexibility to pursue the most tax-efficient strategy.


Finsum: Separately managed accounts offer certain tax advantages to investors over investing in ETFs or mutual funds. Over time, the boost to after-tax returns can be quite significant, especially for high-net-worth investors. 

 

Recent fluctuations in the market have fueled investors' desire for strategies that mitigate risk. Defined-outcome exchange-traded funds, also known as "buffer ETFs," have emerged as a solution, aiming to protect investors from losses on a designated index. 

 

The proliferation of these funds has been remarkable, with assets ballooning to over $22 billion from under $200 million in 2018, with 169 offerings available presently. These ETFs typically offer index returns while mitigating downside risk, achieved by sacrificing a portion of potential upside gains. 

 

By employing various options structures, such as funds with upside caps or partial upside exposure, investors can tailor their risk-reward profiles according to their preferences. Despite operational nuances and fees, most of these ETFs have demonstrated their ability to shield investors from market downturns while offering competitive returns.


Finsum: These last five years have been critical examples of why many investors need buffer ETFs to both capture gains and hedge losses. 

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