Four special individuals have been chosen as this year's recipients of the Money Management Institute's Pioneer Award. Since 1999, the annual Pioneer Award has been bestowed to those worthy individuals who are selected because of their initiatives to build and form the separately managed account industry. This year's award presentations will be made during this week's Money Management Institute's annual conference in Boston.

Collectively, 15 other individuals have won a Pioneer Award over the past five years. This year's "Pioneers" include:

Charles Brandes, founder of Brandes Investment Partners, San Diego, Calif.

Kevin M. Hunt, executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer of Old Mutual Asset Management, Boston.

Judy Rice, president of Prudential Investments, Newark, N.J.

Lewis Walker, president of Walker Capital Advisory Services and Walker Capital Management, Norcross, Ga.

Charles Brandes is founder of Brandes Investment Partners, San Diego, Calif. The firm has $62 billion in assets, of which more than $25 billion is in separately managed accounts. Brandes currently chairs the company's five-member executive committee. The firm was founded in 1974, and bases its investment philosophy upon legendary securities analyst Benjamin Graham's value investing strategy.

My greatest contribution to the separately managed account industry: Helping introduce investors to global investing so they can benefit from the wide range of opportunities to find value in the world's markets.

What I still want to accomplish: My long-term goal has always been to make sure that we can deliver a consistent and high-quality investment service; one that is not dependent on any single individual or "star." That's why we've developed Brandes Investment Partners as a strongly process-driven firm.

What I believe are the greatest challenges facing the separately managed account industry today: One of the biggest challenges of the growing separately managed account industry is capacity, both for managers and for systems.

We believe that in order to provide the very best products and services to clients, managers will need to limit the money they manage in each product. In addition, there is a lack of scalability due to disparate platforms, trading procedures and restrictions.

The industry may not be equipped to handle the next several trillion dollars in growth. While technology has helped the industry, there's room for improvement in standardized systems and procedures.

Kevin M. Hunt is executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer with Old Mutual Asset Management in Boston. Hunt began as an account executive with E.F. Hutton in 1978, then joined Dean Witter in 1988 and spearheaded the firm's entrance into the separately managed account business. He subsequently spent 14 years growing the firm's managed account and asset management business before joining Old Mutual in 2002. He has been a member of the Money Management Institute's board of governors since 1998.

My greatest contribution to the separately managed account industry: In terms of milestones, my greatest contribution would be my role as one of the founders of the Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley consulting business. I feel that my greatest impact to the business has been as part of the group of industry insiders that has worked beyond the borders of their corporate responsibilities to enhance the managed account offering to the client.

What I still want to accomplish: My goal going forward is to help facilitate the necessary changes in technology, training and industry cooperation that would allow the industry to maintain its unique value proposition with the client.

What I believe are the greatest challenges facing the separately managed account industry today: The single greatest challenge is achieving the anticipated growth of the business without compromising the culture of quality and client focus that have marked its auspicious start.

Judy Rice is president of Prudential Investments of Newark, N.J., which houses the separately managed account business of Prudential Financial. Prior to this role, she served as the executive vice president of the unit and director of program management from 1999 to 2002. She was in charge of the development and management of all products and programs.

Before joining Prudential, Rice spent 17 years with Shearson Lehman Advisors in various capacities. She is a founding member of the Money Management Institute's board of governors and continues to serve on the board. She was also elected in October 2003 to the Investment Company Institute's board of governors.

My greatest contribution to the separately managed account industry: I am most proud that we were among the first to offer broad solutions using managed accounts, mutual funds and asset allocation advice, customized to clients' needs and risk tolerances. That was in the late 90s, and it was the beginning of the "unified managed account."

At the time, it was unheard of to mix managed accounts and mutual funds. As with any new idea, it took a while for the industry to grasp that the combination of funds and managed accounts could be the right solution for certain clients, and I am proud that we made the right decision.

I am also very proud that we had successfully developed a proprietary managed account infrastructure and state-of-the-art platform for distribution through Prudential Securities. In early 2000, we began custom tailoring the platform and private labeling it for independent broker/dealers.

What I still want to accomplish: I wish to continue to expand this customized, business-to-business approach, to service our clients and to always stay true to myself and the industry. I will also continue to give back, both personally and professionally.

What I believe are the greatest challenges facing the separately managed account industry today: I think the biggest challenge is supporting the operational and technological infrastructure of the managed account business. The industry is still operating in silos, and together we are going to have to take a giant leap forward to work on centralized data share solutions. Profit margins will continue to be under pressure if we don't move faster and more efficiently to find an industry solution.

Lewis Walker, president of Walker Capital Advisory Services and Walker Capital Management Corp. of Norcross, Ga., has been an independent financial planner and investment consultant since 1976. He takes a holistic approach to blending financial planning with separately managed account strategies. He is the past president of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners and the Institute for Certified Investment Management Consultants. Walker is a frequent writer, speaker, trainer and educator, and serves as the industry's spokesman about the consulting process.

My greatest contribution to the separately managed account industry: I am a passionate believer in the holistic approach to financial planning, and I see my greatest contribution as fostering the merger of holistic financial planning with fee-based asset management. As wealth increased dramatically in the 1990s, people came to realize that it's not just about money. It's about taxes and marriages and kids and a whole lot more.

What I still want to accomplish: What I have gotten interested in is taking this a step further and infusing the humanistic psychology of financial planning. There's a growing movement toward the human side of money and gaining a deeper understanding of needs and fears, and the client's story. I also want to continue to be a coach to those up- and-comers. We can all be coaches to the people coming along behind us.

What I believe are the greatest challenges facing the separately managed account industry today: One challenge will be demographics. We've built a lot of commissioned sales forces during the accumulation phase, but we're about to enter a different world.

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