Separately managed accounts (SMAs) saw assets under management rise 39.2% in the first quarter from the same period last year and 5.8% during the first three months of the year, according to a Money Management Institute report..

Assets are now at $536 billion, compared with $385 billion after the first quarter of 2003. MMI’s report, which polled 20 sponsor firms including the so-called "Big 5," was compiled and analyzed by Financial Research Corp.

Said Smith Barney Director of Managed Accounts Paul Hatch, "We see continued progress in all areas of the industry. As volatility, in both the markets and world events, continue, more and more people look to professional money managers to guide their financial futures."

The composition of the SMA market is changing, MMI also found. Smaller sponsors, including banks and regional firms, saw their assets grow 8% over the first quarter while the Big 5’s grew 5%.

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