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Making Sense of Separately Managed Accounts and Individually Managed Accounts

Individually Managed Accounts (IMAs) and Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs) both offer investors a highly transparent managed share portfolio while avoiding the tax distortions that come with pooled investment vehicles such as managed funds.However, there are some important differences between individually and separately managed accounts and while they may sound very similar, these differences can have a significant impact on investment performance, suitability, and tax effectiveness.In General, Separately Managed Accounts are a good alternative to managed funds for many investors, while investors with $1 million or more, are likely to find the features of an IMA more compelling.The key differences between the two types of managed accounts rests in their approach to building an investment portfolio.SMAs are constructed with a ‘model portfolio’ where each investor receives precisely the same portfolio, based on a template created by the fund manager. IMAs however, are constructed individually for each investor, although each account will share some common holdings. These two approaches have some important differences:Investors in a SMA may buy stocks that have already enjoyed most of their returns, but remain in the model portfolio to avoid realising capital gains tax. IMA investors however will receive a portfolio that is assembled incrementally, as attractive opportunities arise.For the same reason, new investors in Separately Managed Accounts will receive a larger position in stocks that have already performed well, while IMA investors are likely to receive larger holdings in stocks the investment manager believes will perform well in future.IMAs also provide the ability to tailor the portfolio to the investor’s circumstances. For instance, an IMA manager may place more weight on generating franked dividends for a SMSF, while long term capital appreciation could be more valuable for an investor with a high tax rate. These differences in investment management help produce good after tax results for each investor. Since every investor in a SMA receives the same portfolio, the Separately Managed Account manager cannot factor individual considerations into their management.Both structures will allow the transfer an existing portfolio, with the IMA providing some additional flexibility and tax advantages. When importing an existing portfolio into a SMA, only those shares contained in the model portfolio will be retained and only to the proportion held in the model portfolio. Therefore, investors may still realise capital gains when entering an SMA. Conversely, a diligent IMA manager will adapt the existing portfolio over time and with consideration to tax events.Both offer tax effective investment management to tax conscience investors.For investors wishing to exclude individual stocks or sectors, an Individually Managed Account manager will hold alternative positions, while the SMA will generally hold cash in lieu of the excluded positions. This can have a significant impact on the portfolio’s overall returns.In executing trades, SMA investors will generally receive ‘at market’ prices on their transactions, while an IMA manager may attempt to get best execution and/or exercise discretion over the timing of buys and sells.Service levels are also different, with holders of Separately Managed Accounts receiving a service akin to a managed fund. while those using Individually Managed Accounts have ongoing access to the fund manager responsible for their portfolio and will likely receive personalised reporting.

What Should a Reference Page Look Like?

There are multiple documents involved in the job-search process: your résumé, your cover letter and your follow-up or thank-you letter. If you haven’t done so already, consider adding one more item to your application package: a reference page. Since prospective employers almost always ask for references, it’s smart to have a list immediately available for them to look over.Employers use a number of strategies to get to know job candidates and make a determination about the candidate’s suitability for employment. Contacting references is a key part of the process. However, listing references on your résumé is a bad idea. It’s better to use every inch of your résumé to showcase your skills and education; putting references down could appear as filler. The best way to share your references is by showcasing them on their own page.A reference page is much simpler to write than a résumé or cover letter, but don’t overlook its importance. This step requires nearly as much thought and analysis. You must use care, thoughtfulness and communicate openly with the people you’ve chosen as your references. More than one person has lost out on a position for failing to properly vet references. While you don’t want to be portrayed as a saint without imperfections, you want to make sure your references share your goal of helping you find new employment, and keep that in mind when speaking to potential employers.The accepted standard is three professional references, such as supervisors and co-workers, and three personal references. Personal references, which allow prospective employers to see another side of you, can be people you know from volunteer activities, church, or school. Avoid choosing personal references that are too personal, like spouses and parents.Once you’ve contacted your references, obtained their approval, and collected their information, you need to create your reference page. Don’t simply type out the information; remember you’re creating a package of documents to represent you to your employer. The same level of care you put into your résumé and cover letter should go into your reference sheet. As a résumé writer, I give the reference page the same heading as the résumé, and use the same font. I use bold text and italicized text sparingly, to emphasize job titles or places of employment, and follow the same format for each reference:NameTitleOrganizationAddressE-mailPhone/FaxAs with your other job-search documents, you want to make sure you proofread, focusing on the contact information for each reference. A misused letter or number could result in missed communication, causing embarrassment for you along with a possibly missed opportunity.Try to view the reference page as one more item to represent you to employers, and give it the same care and attention you give the rest of your application package.