Assets held in individually-managed accounts have increased by more than one-third so far this year, according to a survey of money managers and managed-account sponsors that the Money Management Institute of Washington released last week.

The top five firms that offer managed accounts - Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, PaineWebber and Salomon Smith Barney, all of New York, and Prudential of Newark, N.J. - had a 63 percent share of the overall market at the end of 1999, according to the institute.

The five companies reported 29 percent growth in assets in the first nine months of this year, with assets under management collectively increasing by $70 billion to approximately $315 billion, according to the survey. Asset flows into equity mutual funds and major equities indices declined during the same period, with the S&P 500 Index down by 2.2 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index down nearly ten percent, the institute report said.

"As equity markets perform erratically, the virtues of the managed account approach have become even more compelling," said Christopher L. Davis, executive director of the institute, in a statement.

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