Displaying items by tag: tax efficiency

Friday, 12 April 2024 04:57

Direct Indexing Offers Superior SMA Product

Forget active versus passive investing, the future is about having both, but with a twist: direct indexing. This strategy combines the low fees and market tracking of passive investing with the tax benefits and customization often desired by active investors.


Direct indexing lets you build a portfolio that mimics a market index, like the S&P 500, but with a twist. You can personalize it to minimize your tax bill through tax-loss harvesting, a strategy that sells losing investments to offset capital gains and lower your taxes. This can potentially lead to significant savings compared to traditional index funds, and research shows the alpha can be as high as 1%.


Technology plays a key role in direct indexing. It allows advisors to tailor the portfolio to your specific needs and tax situation, while still ensuring it closely tracks the chosen index. This level of customization combined with the potential for tax savings is fueling the growth of direct indexing, particularly within separately managed accounts.

Finsum: While active bonds may have an advantage, the semi-passive direct indexing offers advantageous tax alpha. 

Published in Wealth Management
Monday, 08 April 2024 04:56

What’s Next for Direct Indexing

Over the last year, there has been an increase in the accessibility and availability of direct indexing solutions. Still, the category continues to be dominated by high net worth or ultra high net worth investors. According to Anton Honikman, the CEO of MyVest, there is about $400 billion managed by direct indexing strategies. He anticipates that the next stage of growth for direct indexing will depend on younger and less affluent investors. 

Initially, the primary advantage of direct indexing was that it allowed investors to extract tax alpha. He forecasts that as direct indexing becomes democratized over the next few years, providers and advisors will have to make some adjustments.

He notes that custodians will have to offer fractional share support for the technology to work for smaller investors, as implemented by Schwab and Fidelity, which now offer direct indexing to investors with lower minimums. 

Typically, there is some premium involved with direct indexing over investing in low-cost ETFs. Given the increase in ETF options over the last couple of years, he believes that it marginally erodes the use case of direct indexing for many investors. Over the longer term, he sees the direct indexing premium compressing in order to remain viable vs. a portfolio of low-cost, targeted ETFs. Further, he believes that the next wave of direct indexing will be driven by younger investors who want to align their portfolios with their values rather than optimize their tax situation. 

Finsum: At one time, direct indexing was only available to high or ultra high net worth investors. As it becomes democratized, here are some considerations for providers and advisors. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Monday, 08 April 2024 04:54

SMA Insights for Advisors and Clients

Separately managed accounts (SMAs) are ascending in wealth management as they enable advisors to offer clients nearly unlimited options for customization and can lead to more efficient tax management. 

Another feature of SMAs is better economics in terms of aligning goals and incentives between both parties, especially compared to other structures. With SMAs, management fees are based on capital that is deployed rather than committed, which leads to better deal flow and attention from managers. There is also more ability to negotiate fees to incentivize long-term performance and foster more durable relationships. Further, SMAs can be set up to optimize the tax situation of individual clients.   

Overall, SMAs are gaining traction due to more flexibility and choice, which can lead to better outcomes in terms of performance and governance. The SMA agreement can also be adjusted if necessary, rather than having to create an entire new vehicle. 

For investors, SMAs also offer more protection and oversight beyond simply aligning incentives between investors and managers. More active and involved investors may prefer a non-discretionary SMA in which the investor approves each investment before capital is deployed. Additionally, investors get input into matters such as distributions, valuation, expenses, and reporting. 

Finsum: SMAs are rapidly gaining traction. Here are some of the advantages they offer investors and advisors.  

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 04 April 2024 13:14

The Alpha Edge in Direct Indexing

Unlike mutual funds or ETFs, personalized indexing permits harvesting losses at the security level, offering more opportunities for ultra-high-net-worth investors to capture additional tax advantages. Tax-loss harvesting involves selling an investment at a loss and reinvesting the proceeds into another asset, a key benefit of direct indexing. 


Direct indexing strategies involve selling stocks below their cost basis and instantly repurchasing correlated replacements to avoid wash-sale rule violations. Since investors own individual stocks in their portfolios, losses can be captured even when the index gains value. DI experts exemplifies this strategy by selling underperforming securities during market gains, using harvested losses to offset capital gains and taxable income up to $3,000 annually, with the option to carry over losses to future years. 


Maximizing tax alpha depends on the frequency of portfolio scans for harvesting opportunities, with daily scanning potentially improving after-tax returns by 1% to 2% or more. Commitment to direct indexing underscores its importance in tax-efficient investing. 

Finsum: The frequency through which a portfolio can be scanned for tax-loss harvesting is making the case extremely compelling for direct indexing.


Published in Bonds: Total Market
Thursday, 28 March 2024 06:22

Annuity Sales in 2023 Reach New Records

Annuity sales in 2023 were up 22% compared to the previous year, reaching $355.4 billion. The biggest contributor to this growth was the independent sales channel, which now accounts for 40.6% of all annuities sold, totaling $156.2 billion. In 2022, independent agents and brokers accounted for 38.7% of sales. They also accounted for 74% of all fixed indexed annuity sales.

The growth in total annuity sales is due to rising interest rates and the large number of Baby Boomers who are entering or nearing retirement. In terms of categories, income annuities saw the largest increase in sales, at 45% for single premium immediate annuities and a 97% increase for deferred income annuities. 

While most categories saw growth, traditional variable annuities were an exception, as sales dropped by 17%. In contrast, registered index-linked annuities displaced some of these sales as the category had a 15% jump in sales. These annuities offer investors downside protection and limited upside and total $47.4 billion in sales in 2023. 

Keith Golembiewski, the head of annuity research at LIMRA, believes that RIAs are a source of future growth for variable annuity sales. These annuities offer upside potential and allow for deferral of taxes, making them ideal for older clients. Currently, RIAs are a small but growing source of annuity sales. 

Finsum: Annuity sales hit new record highs in 2023. Some major reasons are an uncertain economic outlook, Baby Boomers nearing retirement, and high interest rates. 

Published in Wealth Management
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