Displaying items by tag: tax efficiency

Saturday, 08 June 2024 12:12

Investors Aren’t Maximizing Direct Indexing

Direct indexing is increasingly popular as investors seek personalized options and lower costs. This method, which involves owning a representative sample of securities in an index, offers benefits like reduced costs, individual tax lot ownership, and increased tax efficiencies.


However, to fully realize these benefits, direct indexing should be implemented within a single multi-manager account (UMA) rather than standalone accounts. This approach allows for effective tax loss harvesting, consistent exposure to the reference index, and avoids disallowed losses due to wash sales. 


Managing a portfolio within a UMA also simplifies administration and enhances rebalancing and asset allocation efficiency. When switching firms, advisors can use UMAs to minimize capital gains taxes for clients by absorbing satellite holdings into the core direct index.


Finsum: We know the benefits of tax-alpha but these account types could give investors an additional edge.

Published in Wealth Management
Tuesday, 04 June 2024 07:54

Some Advisors Slow to Embrace Direct Indexing

A survey of 631 financial advisors conducted by RIA Channel and FTSE Russell reveals that 79% of financial advisors do not currently use or offer direct indexing, although nearly half plan to begin adoption within the next five years. 

The survey shows that direct indexing’s growth remains in its infancy despite more awareness among advisors and clients. It also shows that many advisors are unfamiliar with direct indexing and unprepared for the shift in wealth management towards more personalized offerings. 

Among the respondents who offer direct indexing, 64% cited ‘tax loss harvesting’, 56% noted ‘tax efficient transitions’, and 40% acknowledged 'reducing concentration risk’ as major benefits of the strategy. Notably, 34% of advisors don’t feel confident talking to clients about direct indexing, despite offering the service.

In fact, the survey shows that 28% of advisors “don’t understand the benefits over other investment options,” while 27% believe the same goals can be reached with a portfolio of ETFs, and 20% see it as equivalent to separately managed accounts. 

In terms of obstacles, 34% said there was a ‘lack of client demand’, and 29% noted a lack of ‘understanding and knowledge of direct indexing’. Other factors cited were an absence of ‘organizational focus’ and ‘cost’.

Clearly, more needs to be done to educate advisors about the opportunity embedded in direct indexing to provide a personalized experience and help clients optimize their tax situations.

Finsum: Direct indexing is becoming increasingly ubiquitous; however, there is still a big gap when it comes to education. Here are some insights from a recent survey on what is preventing some advisors from adopting the strategy. 

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 30 May 2024 11:37

Pros and Cons of Direct Indexing

A major trend in wealth management is the rise of customized products and services. Direct indexing is essentially a personalized equity or bond index. 

In terms of benefits, direct indexing gives more control over the timing of realizing capital gains for maximum tax-efficiency. Unlike ETFs or mutual funds, tax losses can be harvested and then used to offset capital gains with direct indexing. According to research, this can boost after-tax returns between 1% and 2%. 

It also allows clients to invest in a way that aligns with their values and/or unique financial situation. This could mean not including stocks from a particular industry, such as tobacco or firearms. It also allows for better risk management, as exposure to certain stocks or sectors can be more effectively managed. 

In terms of drawbacks, a major chunk of direct indexing’s benefits are due to tax savings. However, this is less relevant in a retirement account. Another complication is that short-term losses cannot offset long-term gains. 

Another is the ‘wash sale rule’ which means that investors cannot sell and then repurchase the same security within 30 days. One workaround is to buy securities with similar factor scores to remain consistent with the underlying benchmark. 

Finally, direct indexing has become available to a wider group of investors in recent years due to technology and low-cost trading. However, it’s still most impactful for investors in a higher tax bracket, long-term capital gains, and large, concentrated positions. 


Finsum: Direct indexing is increasingly popular, especially as it’s becoming available to more investors. However, the strategy is most applicable for investors in a higher tax bracket, large concentrated positions, and long-term capital gains. 

Published in Wealth Management
Tuesday, 14 May 2024 10:19

Untapped Opportunities With Direct Indexing

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.

Published in Wealth Management

Direct indexing, via separately managed accounts, is rapidly gaining traction as an investment strategy in the United States, particularly beneficial for those with significant holdings in company stocks, and is already proving to be major movement among prominent investment firms in 2024.


This approach allows investors to replicate index performance while retaining control over individual securities, utilizing automated programs for systematic trading. Once limited to the ultra-wealthy, recent technological advancements have made direct indexing accessible to investors of varying levels, with assets projected to reach $2 trillion by 2024.


Direct indexing offers customization, diversification, and risk mitigation, enabling investors to tailor portfolios to their preferences and goals while reducing reliance on specific stocks. With its tax efficiency and customization benefits, it’s easy to see why it’s so appealing in an SMA format and companies like Goldman Sachs are already making huge strides in this subsector. 

Finsum: The hybridization of products has been one of the defining features of the 2020’s and integrating vehicles like SMAs with direct indexing will continue the rest of the decade. 

Published in Wealth Management
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