Displaying items by tag: tax loss harvesting

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
Saturday, 11 May 2024 08:04

Tax Advantages of SMAs

A feature of separately managed accounts (SMAs) is that investors directly own securities, compared to an ETF or mutual fund. This makes them more tax-efficient, as investors have more opportunities to harvest tax losses and capitalize on volatility. In contrast, mutual funds, or ETFs, offer much more limited opportunities.  

With SMAs, tax losses can be harvested even in years with positive returns, as securities that are down can be sold. These losses can be used to offset gains and reduce an investor's overall tax bill. Positions can be rebought after 30 days to avoid wash sale restrictions, or stocks with similar factor scores can be purchased instead. 

Unlike mutual funds, SMAs are not subject to embedded capital gains. Embedded capital gains mean that an owner of a mutual fund is liable for capital gains depending on a position’s cost basis. This means that an investor in a mutual fund could be liable for capital gains, even if they have a loss on the position. 

In stressful markets, mutual funds can see distributions of capital gains if there is a surge of redemptions, adding to the risk of a capital gains tax bill in concert with a losing position. With SMAs, this risk is nonexistent since securities are directly purchased. Instead, there is more flexibility to pursue the most tax-efficient strategy.

Finsum: Separately managed accounts offer certain tax advantages to investors over investing in ETFs or mutual funds. Over time, the boost to after-tax returns can be quite significant, especially for high-net-worth investors. 


Published in Wealth Management

Last year, assets in passive mutual funds and ETFs overtook assets in active mutual funds and ETFs. This is remarkable considering that passive funds accounted for 31% of total assets in 2015. The trend has been gaining steam since 2008 due to the strong performance of market-cap, weighted indices, and a greater preference for lower fees. 

In 2023, only 47% of active managers outperformed their passive benchmarks. Over the last decade, only 12% of active managers have survived and outperformed their benchmarks. Due to this, it’s not surprising to see that passive strategies are being adopted in separately managed and unified accounts. Currently, it accounts for 32% of assets in these accounts and is forecast to grow at a 12% rate over the next 4 years, faster than growth in ETFs and mutual funds. 

Direct indexing is a customizable, passive investing strategy. It’s designed to track a benchmark but allows for customization for tax purposes or to align investments with a client’s values. According to research, direct indexing can add between 85 and 110 basis points to a portfolio’s after-tax returns. 

Direct indexing also allows advisors to offer clients more personalization while retaining the benefits of passive investing. Already, asset managers and custodians are responding by offering direct indexing solutions at scale to advisors. 


Finsum: Passive strategies have overtaken actively managed strategies in terms of their share of assets. Direct indexing is one factor, as it is a way for advisors to retain the benefits of investing in an index with greater customization and tax efficiency

Published in Wealth Management

Direct indexing continues its ascent and is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in assets within the next decade. In essence, direct indexing retains the primary benefits of passive investing while allowing for greater tax efficiency and personalization. 

It achieves this by buying the actual components of an index in a separately managed account (SMA). This means that tax losses can be harvested by selling losing positions and reinvesting the proceeds into positions with similar factor scores to ensure that the benchmark continues to be tracked. According to research, direct indexing can boost after-tax returns by 1 to 2% due to these savings. The effect is even more potent in periods with elevated volatility.

Direct indexing also allows for more customization to account for a client’s unique situation. For instance, if an investor has an oversized position in a specific company, that company would not be included in the index, and/or the specific sector could be underweighted. Similarly, if a client is sitting on large, unrealized gains, direct indexing can help reduce the tax burden while helping to construct a more diversified portfolio.

Direct indexing can be a way for advisors to give clients a strategy that accomplishes their financial goals in the long term, reduces tax payments, and aligns their investments with personal values and/or situation. This can help differentiate advisors in a competitive market and create a richer experience that leads to a stronger and deeper relationship with clients. 

Finsum: Direct indexing continues to experience rapid growth as it offers the benefits of passive investing with more tax efficiency and customization. For advisors, it also presents an opportunity.

Published in Wealth Management
Saturday, 20 April 2024 03:53

Direct Indexing Can Reduce Portfolio Risk

Direct indexing has witnessed a meteoric rise, with investments in direct indexes eclipsing $260 billion by the end of 2022. This method, involving the investment in individual securities comprising an index rather than the index fund itself, offers a distinctive set of advantages. 


It not only aims to closely replicate index performance but also holds the potential to significantly enhance tax efficiency. Furthermore, direct indexing provides a level of customization surpassing conventional index funds, making it increasingly attractive for those seeking tailored investment approaches. Direct indexing is gaining momentum, particularly due to its ability to mitigate risk concentration. 


Through this strategy, investors can manage individual components for tax purposes more effectively. By liquidating underperforming securities to offset taxable gains elsewhere in their portfolio, investors can potentially reduce tax liabilities and enhance tax efficiency. However, it's essential to navigate this strategy within the confines of the wash sale rule, which prohibits claiming a tax deduction for a sold security if a substantially identical one is purchased within 30 days before or after the sale.

Finsum: More needs to be said about direct indexing reducing risk in the portfolio by selecting and deselecting stocks based on their risk profile. 

Published in Wealth Management
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