Typically, Australian investors access model portfolios via managed accounts. Managed accounts is the general term that refers to the type of product or service where the underlying securities are owned by the investor.
Managed accounts can be implemented in different structures, creating flexibility for the model portfolio users. Variations include separately managed accounts (SMAs), managed discretionary accounts (MDAs), unified managed accounts (UMAs) and the more bespoke individually managed accounts (IMAs).
In simple terms, an SMA is a financial product consisting of underlying financial investments. It is a non-unitised managed investment scheme governed by a constitution and offered under a product disclosure statement. The product issuer is legally responsible for the trading, custody, and account level administration.
MDA refers to a contractual relationship between an Adviser and client where the Adviser obtains continuous discretion to manage and implement client portfolios. Unlike an SMA, an MDA is classed as a service agreement rather than a financial product, with the planner authorised to provide both advice and discretionary investment management within parameters agreed to by the client.
An MDA licence can be attached to the dealer group’s licence. Advisers can also use a third party’s MDA licence not related to the dealer group, whereby the third party retains all risk in relation to the MDA
A UMA is an integrated view of an account that includes multiple investments such as equities, cash, SMAs, ETFs, managed funds and term deposits. Seen as a reporting solution for Advisers, a UMA is reliant upon data feeds and client authorisation to receive all client investment holding data. This one view can support efficient management of a client’s portfolio.
An IMA is a model portfolio tailored to a specific client’s needs, therefore the portfolio is managed at a client level. Generally this structure is offered under an unregistered scheme with high minimum investment requirements, therefore wholesale investors are the typical investor.