Saturday, 11 May 2024 08:04

Tax Advantages of SMAs

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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. 

 

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