Separate account managers are earning high marks when it comes to articulating their knowledge of financial markets and the investment process, but considerable improvement is needed in terms of the support they provide advisers.

That was the sentiment echoed by some of the nation's top financial advisers when asked to rate the separately managed account services of 166 asset managers. Group Five, a Princeton, N.J.-based research and consulting firm, polled 933 advisers from 10 regional broker/dealers and the major wirehouses during a six-week period beginning April 1 of this year.

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