Interesting article highlighting the lack of clarity between SMAs / Platforms etc. It would appear that this has begun to be a war of words rather than of service levels to clients.

Limited investment choice
By Vishal Teckchandani
Mon 08 Sep 2008

Using SMAs alone to build client portfolios does not provide enough asset class diversification.

Using only separately managed accounts (SMAs) to build clients’ portfolios does not provide enough asset class diversification, according to BT Financial Group (BT) head of product and wrap solutions Craig Lawrenson.

“One aspect that a platform has, that I believe SMAs do not currently have, is investment choice,” Lawrenson said at the Wraps, Platforms and Masterfunds conference last week.

“I do not think at this stage, advisers are able to establish a well-diversified client portfolio entirely using SMAs.”

While SMAs provide clients with superior tax solutions to managed funds due to the direct ownership of stocks, platforms could be useful for accessing other products including term deposits, alternative assets and structured products.

Lawrenson said platforms should house SMAs, and they can benefit customers together.

“I do not see the SMA… being an alternative to the platform, and being able to manage and adminster those assets,” he said.

Lawrenson’s comments came after the year-long credit crunch sent global stock markets into bear territory, sparking high demand for term deposits, capital protected instruments and other cash products.

The catalyst for takeovers of SMAs will come when platforms seek to become full-service providers, Lawrenson said.