Displaying items by tag: taxes

Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:28

SMA Growth Outpacing Model Portfolios

A recent survey of financial advisors showed that separately managed accounts (SMAs) are seeing more traction in comparison to model portfolios. Only 22% of advisors plan to increase reliance on model portfolios, a 5% drop from the previous year. In contrast, allocations to SMAs are forecast to reach 26% in 2025 from 18% currently. The trend is more pronounced among advisors serving high net-worth clients who see allocations reaching 31% in 2025 from 23% now.


Some of the reasons cited by advisors in the survey for less interest in model portfolios were higher fees, underperformance, a need for customization, and more investment options. The survey is an indication that model portfolio uptake and growth have stalled as only 29% of advisors using model portfolios report increasing use over the past year. 


The survey was conducted by Cogent Syndicated in October and November of last year. The firm surveyed 403 registered financial advisors with an active book of at least $5 million. The report suggests that model portfolio providers are losing ground as many advisors and clients are gravitating towards direct indexing and SMAs due to their customization and tax optimization, while model portfolios fall short in these regards despite offering other advantages for advisors and clients. 



Finsum: A survey of financial advisors showed that model portfolio adoption has stalled. Here are why advisors are gravitating towards SMAs instead.


Published in Wealth Management
Sunday, 28 January 2024 04:42

Are Tax-Deferred Annuities Worth It?

The most common reasons to choose a tax-deferred annuity are that it allows for accumulation while also ensuring security. Since taxes are delayed till retirement, there is more compounding to augment returns. Upon retirement, the annuity payouts begin. The downside is that these vehicles can underperform during periods when market returns are robust. Additionally, inflation above historical averages would also erode the purchasing power of annuity payouts. 


In contrast to tax-deferred annuities, immediate annuities involve a single lump-sum payment and then payments begin, typically, within a year of purchase. Deferred annuities work differently. After the purchase of the annuity, regular contributions are made. The value of the account grows due to these contributions and earned interest. 


Once the deferred annuity buyer is ready for payments, typically during retirement, the annuity seller begins making payments depending on the terms of the annuity and the total amount of funds accumulated in the account. 


Ordinarily, earned interest is taxed. This is not the case with a tax-deferred annuity. The result is more compounding and principal growth. However, taxes do have to be paid on income received from the annuity or on the accumulated interest, depending on the structure of the specific annuity. 

Finsum: Tax-deferred annuities offer certain advantages such as more accumulation and security. But there are also some disadvantages such as underperformance vs the broader market and inflation eroding the purchasing power of payouts.


Published in Wealth Management
Wednesday, 20 December 2023 03:06

The Pull of Personalization for Millennial Investors

Schwab conducted a survey among its ETF-investing clients. Among the takeaways is that Millennial investors are quite partial to ETFs, relative to other generations. 37% of their portfolios are allocated to ETFs. 89% said ETFs were their investment vehicle of choice, while 25% of Millennials plan to increase their exposure to ETFs next year. 


Another interesting finding from the survey is that Millennials also have a strong interest in more personalized investment options. 88% said that they are somewhat or very likely to personalize their portfolios. 78% want their investment to align with their personal values. This is much higher than older generations. 


The survey also showed substantial interest in direct indexing among Millennials. This isn’t too surprising considering that 65% of Millennials said it’s extremely important to have more control over investments, 61% want greater ability to customize their investments, and 61% want their investment to be managed to optimize taxes. 


Currently, 87% of Millennials are familiar with direct indexing, an increase from 80% in last year’s survey. Additionally, 53% of Millennials are extremely interested in learning more about direct indexing, while only 34% of Gen X and 22% of Boomers feel the same way. 69% of ETF investors, not investing with direct indexing, said that they are likely to invest in one next year. For Millennials, 80% feel this way.

Finsum: Schwab conducted a survey among its ETF-investing clients. Among the findings, Millennials are partial to the asset class and also have strong interest in direct indexing. 


Published in Wealth Management

Direct indexing has been around for 30 years but was once only accessible and viable for ultra-high net-worth investors. Now, technology and lower transaction costs have made it available for a much wider swath of investors who are able to benefit from direct indexing’s tax-loss harvesting and customization abilities.


Interestingly, the strategy is finding particular favor among millennial investors who are interested in tax optimization and personalization which are not possible through traditional passive investing. Advisors can customize holdings in a way that reflects a client’s values and preferences such as prioritizing ESG criteria or adjusting a portfolio based on a client’s risk profile. Holdings can also be customized to account for a clients’ unique financial situation, which is also not possible through investing in ETFs or mutual funds. 


For advisors, it presents an opportunity to differentiate themselves in a competitive landscape by offering personalized and optimized solutions. Direct indexing is likely to continue growing as it’s becoming increasingly available through many online brokerages and wealth management firms. It’s also consistent with many younger investors’ desired preference to have their personal holdings reflect their values and beliefs. 

Finsum: Direct indexing is growing at a rapid pace, and it’s finding favor with Millennial investors due to its tax optimization and personalization.  


Published in Wealth Management

High net-worth clients may be facing a major issue due to the upcoming expiration of the 2017 tax cuts after 2025. This will mean the expiration of higher federal gift and estate tax exemptions. The exemptions, which encompass tax-free caps on gifts during life or at death, will be $13.6 million per individual or $27.2 million for spouses in 2024 but will be cut by 50% in 2026. 


This will mean that many more high net-worth clients will be impacted by the estate tax. And, this is the time to begin planning around this new reality given that many estate tax planning strategies take months or even more than a year to implement. 


Some married couples can take advantage of the current higher levels of exemption by removing assets from their estate via lifetime gifts. According to Robert Dietz, the national director of tax research at Bernstein Private Wealth Management in Minneapolis,“The reality is you have to give away more than half to see any benefit from the gift in terms of the exclusion going away.” And for clients uncomfortable making these gifts now, they can keep control of their assets by opening a trust. 

Finsum: The expiration of the 2017 tax bill means that high net-worth clients will have to grapple with much lower exemptions on tax-free giving. 


Published in Wealth Management
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