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SMA Assets Hit Record Level

Assets in the separately managed accounts market have for the first time jumped over $800 billion.

Assets in the separately managed accounts market have for the first time jumped over $800 billion. As of Sept. 30, there was $805.8 billion under management in the SMA industry, an increase of almost 25% over the same time in 2005, when there was $645.6 billion under management. In the third quarter of 2006 alone, assets under management grew by $32 billion. Figures released by the Money Management Institute on Friday show that about 350,000 new SMA accounts were opened in the first three quarters of 2006--the biggest such jump in recent years.

Wirehouses remain by far the largest distribution channel for SMAs, accounting for nearly 80% of all sales.

This year's jump in sales has been accompanied by a burst of innovation in the SMA world. Launched in April, Smith Barney Consulting Group's Select Portfolio was the first SMA platform among wirehouses to offer multi-strategy accounts with an overlay manager that provides active tax management. IXIS Asset Management and Manning & Napier are among the first firms to move into the target-dated SMA mart, while UBS Global Asset Management and OppenheimerFunds plan to offer mutual funds specifically designed for SMAs.

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