WASHINGTON – Credit unions that have started offering separately managed accounts might be interested to know the investment vehicles are slowly gaining momentum. According to the Money Management Institute (MMI), separately managed accounts (SMAs) stood at $535 billion at the end of September, rising 17% from last year’s third quarter. Investors are also expected to contribute $59 million to SMAs in 2004 compared to $30 million in net sales last year. SMAs are individual accounts that allow investors to customize their pick of securities from a selection recommended by a portfolio manager. The accounts typically require a minimum of $100,000 investment, but some CUs have linked up with firms that have dropped that requirement down as low as $25,000. At 78% Wall Street firms still hold the majority of SMAs but the MMI has seen interest in banks and credit unions. The MMI represents money managers, banks and brokers who offer the accounts.

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