Investors seeking a personal investment touch helped inflate the assets of separately managed accounts to $528.7 billion at the end of the second quarter, a 19.4% increase from the same period last year and a 6.3% jump during the first six months of 2004.

The Money Management Institute, the trade group for the separate account industry projects SMA net sales will reach $59 billion by year-end, which amounts to a 90% increase over $39 billion in net sales from 2003. MMI also forecasted that SMA sales would reach $80 billion in 2005.

"The disciplined approach of discretionary management, through separately managed accounts, continues to attract new investors and encourage others to add assets to their managed accounts," said Mike Havey, vice president at A.G. Edwards & Sons. "This approach, combined with all the other managed account benefits such as customization and transparency continues to drive the industry."

In addition, researchers predict that IRA rollovers will drive future SMA industry growth. Last year IRA rollovers accounted for at least 25% of net flows. Due to increasingly popular features and the growing popularity of IRA rollovers, SMA net flows associated with the rollovers will approach 40%, reaching more than $50 billion a year.

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