Wealth Management

A familiar mantra of financial advisors and tax planning experts is that it’s not what you earn; it’s what you get to keep that matters. This principle underscores the significance of effective tax management strategies within a taxable investment portfolio. An essential technique in optimizing after-tax returns is tax-loss harvesting, which involves selling investments at a loss to offset taxable gains in the same year.


A powerful tool for executing this strategy is direct indexing. Unlike product structures like mutual funds, direct indexing accounts allow investors or their advisors to buy and sell individual securities. This granular control enables them to recognize losses for tax purposes while maintaining their investment strategy.


However, timing is crucial. Establishing a direct indexing account early in the taxable year affords the account holder increased flexibility later. This positions them to maximize the opportunities for tax-loss harvesting as they accumulate over the year. By doing so, advisors can proactively manage the portfolio to leverage potential tax savings, which can be particularly beneficial when preparing for year-end financial discussions with clients.


Essentially, the sooner an advisor sets up a direct indexing account for their client, the more they can potentially benefit from tax-loss harvesting strategies during the year.

Finsum: Advisors can help their clients keep more of what they earn by utilizing direct indexing accounts to harvest tax losses throughout the year.


Over the next few years, it’s expected that alternative assets will become a larger part of client portfolios. Advisors will have to contend with a changing landscape especially as more products will be introduced that are more complicated in terms of taxes and reporting. 


A looming challenge for advisors will be handling the increased workload as well as understanding these products in a comprehensive manner in order to explain it to their clients. It’s likely that asset managers will form partnerships with RIAs in order to help them navigate and simplify the process. Already, some asset managers have started to invest in efforts to educate advisors, but more will be necessary given the increase in the number of options.


According to Ernst & Young America's Financial Services, some advisors will increase allocation to alternatives to 10% or more. In the near-term, private credit products will see the strongest growth as they are seen as less risky while offering higher yields than fixed income.


In addition to private credit, most exposure to alternatives currently is through liquid alt mutual funds, liquid alt ETFs, and publicly-traded REITs. Over the next couple of years, areas forecast to have the highest growth in terms of assets are cryptocurrencies, digital assets, hedge funds, private equity, and private debt. 

Finsum: The alternative assets space is expected to heat up in the coming years. One challenge for advisors will be to understand these products and handling an increased workload. 


Natixis Investment Managers and CoreData Research conducted a survey of 11,000 investors. One of the most interesting results was that those who were invested in model portfolios were less stressed, had more confidence, and trust in their advisors relative to individuals not invested in a model portfolio. 


11% of model portfolio clients felt stress while 23% of non-model portfolio investors were stressed. Similarly, 45% of model portfolio investors felt confident about their finances, compared to 24% of non-model investors. Further, 78% of model portfolio investors saw volatility as an opportunity. In contrast, only 47% of non-model portfolio clients felt the same way. 


Only about half of the respondents were invested in a model portfolio despite the benefits. Currently, about 51% of wealth managers and RIAs offer third-party model portfolios. However, it does present an opportunity for advisors as it frees up more time for financial planning, client service, and prospecting. 


Ronnie Colvin, the founder of Fractional Planner, said “Model portfolios make life easier for the advisor because the allocation percentages and the investments in the portfolio are predetermined. So the advisor doesn’t have to go and scour the market for various investments to fill a target allocation.” He added that model portfolios can help with managing risk while also leading to a more customized experience given that there are model portfolios optimized for tax efficiency, sustainability, income, and alternatives.


Finsum: Model portfolios offer certain advantages for clients and advisors according to a survey of investors. These include increased levels of confidence, less stress, and more trust in their advisors. 

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