Managed Account Marketing vs. Reality

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23 January 2015
William Trout
In my last post I discussed some of the limitations of the unified managed household account or UMH, in which the investments of a household are managed within a single account. Part of the challenge here in describing the managed account space is that TAMPs and other UMH providers have gotten a bit ahead of themselves, promising more than can be realistically delivered in a wealth management environment defined by systems spaghetti and silos. Keep in mind that UMA was launched in the 1990s as a way station on the long road to UMH, and has been by no means perfected. Pulling data from multiple custodians remains difficult, for example. All the more reason why stretching overlay management and other unifying features of the UMA onto a household framework doesn’t always make much sense. Real UMH functionality may be a while away, but the good news for firms and their end-clients is that core UMA functionality has real potential to deliver short-term. Deeper automation and the more efficient management of data can help resolve existing trade-offs between personalization and scale, if not completely. Technology vendors must provide advisors with such tangible enhancements and stop trying to build castles in the sky. And wealth management firms should turn down the marketing bluster. It’d be best if both acknowledge the inherent limitations of the managed account product and focus on concrete ways to improve the client experience.


  • Thanks for your comment, Pete. Where do you think responsibility for this data gap lies? With BDs keeping a death grip on client data? Or with the custodians? Does the MMI/Envestnet Model Messaging Hub ( offer a potential way forward?

  • Will,

    I can't speak to the advisors overblown marketing, but I can attest to the tech issues. And while vendors do gold some responsibility, I believe that the real issues have more to do with the institutions serving them. Just getting all the data via some standardized method is near impossible. It's 2015 and we're behaving like farmers using barbed wire and bailing twine to get the basics done. UMH should be ubiquitous just as householding became do in just a few short years. The tech vendors will follow the institutions if give a reason and a chance.



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