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Rekenthaler Report

Mass Customization Has Finally Arrived

Twenty years later than advertised, but who's counting?

The Price Wasn't Right
Financial-services companies have long assured the unwashed that they, too, can invest like the wealthy. Own a portfolio built only for them, considering their individual needs. Get off that bus! Hop into a Lincoln Town Car, sink into the black leather, and go where you like.

Such has been the claim for separately managed accounts (SMAs). Invented in the 1970s and popularized in the 1990s, SMAs promise customization for those with modest assets. True, SMA investors are initially placed into a model portfolio that is the same as everybody else's, but from there they can adjust according to their desires--at no extra charge, as all services are included in the annual fee.