The Ethic Playbook: The Value of an SMA vs. an ETF
Thursday, January 11, 2024
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January 2024
The Ethic Playbook: The Value of an SMA vs. an ETF
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How an SMA may offer a more personalized investment journey for your clients

by Morgan du Plessix

Wealth advisers face a lot of competition to meet their clients’ rising expectations for more holistic investment planning. Separately managed accounts (SMAs) offer substantial potential for personalization. In this episode of “The Ethic Playbook,” relationship manager Morgan du Plessix breaks down the value proposition of opting for an SMA strategy over purchasing an ETF

While ETFs are also a solution that can help investors reach sustainability goals, SMAs offer the following advantages:

  1. Increased transparency. Unlike other managed assets, such as ETFs and index funds, SMAs let investors exclude specific securities, which can help them build portfolios that are more aligned with their values.
  2. More efficient tax management capabilities. By allowing investors to directly own individual stocks, their advisers can efficiently incorporate tax management into trading decisions.
  3. Double down on impact through proxy voting. Investors can impact corporate behavior through proxy voting or shareholder resolutions when they invest in SMAs, as the solution lets them directly own the underlying securities.


Contact your relationship manager to learn more about how Ethic can help you and your clients build a direct indexing portfolio.

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Sources and footnotes

Ethic Inc. is a Registered Investment Adviser located in New York, NY. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any level of skill or training. Information pertaining to Ethic Inc’s registration or to obtain a copy of Ethic Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing Ethic Inc.’s business operations, services and fees is available on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Information website – or from Ethic Inc. upon written request at Information provided herein is for informational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Any subsequent, direct communication by Ethic Inc. with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative of Ethic Inc. that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where a prospective client resides. Information contained herein may be carefully compiled from third-party sources that Ethic Inc. believes to be reliable, but Ethic Inc. cannot guarantee the accuracy of any third-party information.

Ethic Inc. does not render any legal, accounting, or tax advice. Ethic Inc. recommends all investors seek the services of competent professionals in any of the aforementioned areas. Ethic Inc. cannot provide any assurances that any investment strategies, simulations, etc. will perform as described in our materials. ALL INVESTMENTS INVOLVE RISK, ARE NOT GUARANTEED, AND MAY LOSE VALUE. BE SURE TO FIRST CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED FINANCIAL ADVISER AND/OR TAX PROFESSIONAL BEFORE IMPLEMENTING ANY STRATEGY.


Morgan du Plessix was born in Haiti to a Haitian mother and French father and raised between Haiti, France and the Washington D.C. area. She previously worked at UBS Global Wealth Management in roles across the firm’s major business areas including the sustainable investing solutions team and the advisory and planning products group, amongst others. She graduated from New York University where she studied International Relations and Sustainable Business.

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