It's Your Money, A (SMA) Separately Managed Account

April 5, 2023
Originally published MAY 31, 2022

At Curran your money is invested within what is known as a separately managed account (SMA).  A SMA is a portfolio of securities consisting of equities, bonds, and ETFs (exchange-traded funds).  In place of bonds at Curran, we often utilize low-cost ETFs for our investors fixed-income allocation. A SMA offers several advantages over mutual funds. Sometimes we take our industry knowledge for granted and we want to share these advantages with our clients. Some of the SMA advantages are the following:

  • Avoid fees on fees, when an advisor steers an investor toward mutual funds, one winds up paying a fee to the advisor and in addition the mutual fund’s expenses. ETFs also have fees associated with them but in most cases are significantly lower than mutual funds.
  • Greater transparency in fees and portfolio holdings, a straightforward fee structure rather than paying an advisor’s fee, plus the mutual fund management fees. Know what you own beyond a mutual fund or ETF’s top 10 holdings.
  • Direct ownership, it’s your account, custodied with a known firm like Fidelity or Schwab.
  • Personalized service, access to the portfolio manager and the Curran investment team. At a firm like ours, the investment team is more directly involved with our clients and the day-to-day operations than at the larger fund complexes where layers of staff separate client service from the investment managers.
  • Ability to customize your portfolio, let’s say one owns a lot of employer’s stock shares in your retirement plan and benefit programs, we can restrict its ownership in your account, managing what is known as single-stock position risk. Restrictions can be placed on an account to avoid ownership in companies competing directly with your employer. We can also block industries raising conscientious objections such as fossil fuels. Many of our clients exercise this ability whether it’s fossil fuels, weapons manufacturers, the defense and tobacco industries.
  • Greater tax efficiency, a mutual fund distributes capital gains to all shareholders based on the fund’s sales. A SMA investor is only taxed on their account’s realized gains. Historically, we at Curran have done a good job managing our investors’ realized capital gains. Our low turnover investment philosophy lends itself to tax awareness.      

I have outlined several of the advantages SMA ownership offers over mutual funds and to some extent ETFs too. Rather than pooled investment vehicles like mutual funds or exchange listed ETFs, SMAs differ because each account portfolio is unique to that owner. This allows both the account owner and the portfolio manager a greater degree of flexibility in managing the investment strategy. At Curran we are passionate about separate account management and it’s our belief that it remains the best investment vehicle available for investors.

Please contact your Private Wealth Manager with any questions and feel free to request that you be put in touch with a member of the investment committee. We are available to discuss any investment related questions that you have.


Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer

Our Financial Planning Process

At Curran we value service over sales and believe quality service yields happy clients. Below is our 4-step process (the first three steps at no cost to you).

Engage & Discover

A short introductory call for us to get to know one other. During this call we will discuss your financial goals, concerns and hopes for the future.

Goals & Data Gathering

In this meeting we will go over your current financial situation, take a deeper look at your goals, discuss your risk tolerances, and collect the data necessary to build a formal proposal.

Proposal & Evaluate

Based on our data gathering session, our Private Wealth Managers will present you with a custom proposal tailored to your needs. We encourage individuals to take the time to evaluate this proposal.


If you are comfortable with the proposal and choose to invest with Curran, our team will be there every step of the way assisting in opening the recommended accounts and facilitating all necessary parts of your onboarding process.