Advisors who make investment decisions on behalf of their clients in rep-driven managed accounts are very likely to see their business grow, if projections by Cerulli Associates prove accurate. In a new report, the Boston-based research firm estimates that rep-driven programs will reach $1.7 trillion by 2015, representing the largest asset increase across the managed accounts industry.

Rep-driven programs today hold an estimated $882.1 billion in assets, with rep-as-advisor programs holding approximately $475.9 billion. The other type of rep-driven program—rep-as-portfolio-manager—has about $406.2 billion, according to Cerulli.

The key distinction between rep-as-advisor and rep-as-portfolio-manager programs is that advisors have discretion in rep-as-portfolio-manager programs, meaning they can make changes to client portfolios without first getting the client’s permission.

“As advisor practices grow, making changes to model portfolios becomes challenging and difficult to scale,” said Patrick Newcomb, a senior analyst in Cerulli’s managed accounts practice, in a press release. “If they do not need to contact a client before making a change, advisors can spend more time on other, more profitable activities, such as prospecting or meeting with clients,” he said in the release.

Of the two types of programs, rep-as-portfolio-manager programs are expected to grow faster, swelling anywhere from an estimated 17% to 21.8% each year through 2015. Rep-as-advisors programs, while holding more in investor assets, have slightly slower growth rates estimated between 15.7% to 21.4%.

The total managed accounts industry has approximately $2.2 trillion in assets. Other types of managed account programs include mutual fund advisory programs and ETF advisory programs. Mutual fund advisory programs give advisors the ability to systematically allocate investors’ assets across mutual funds on a discretionary or nondiscretionary basis. ETF advisory programs allow advisors to do the same with clients’ ETFs.

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