A wrap account is the industry term for a bundle of investment services all ‘wrapped’ up under one fee. Think of it as an all-inclusive vacation package. You can book your flight, hotel, meals and bus tours on your own, or you can pay a fee to an agent to arrange the whole trip for you. A wrap portfolio is the opposite of do-ityourself investing. Differing from a regular investment account where you are charged a sales commission for every trade, the annual wrap fee covers a professionally managed portfolio, trade transactions and account administration, along with other services. Wrap programs appeal to investors who do not have the time, the inclination, or the expertise to manage a financial portfolio.
Not all Wrap Accounts are the same
No. Wrap accounts come in as many shapes and sizes as the financial institutions that offer them. Brokerage firms, financial planners, mutual fund companies and your local bank or trust company all sponsor wrap products. In the last four years, the popularity of wrap accounts has mushroomed and new products sprout up every year. Descriptions such as professionally managed accounts, asset allocation, balanced portfolios and diversification are often used to describe wrap products.
Choose from two types of Wrap Accounts
There are essentially two types of wrap investment products on the market: a traditional wrap account and a mutual fund wrap account. Traditional wrap accounts offer a full range of securities, along with the expertise of outside money managers with different investment styles. These traditional wrap accounts are customized according to your investment horizon, goals and risk tolerance. Mutual fund wrap investments, as you might guess, are made up of only mutual funds. These wrap accounts are generally based on an asset allocation selected from several, non-customized allocations generated by a computer program. In the simplest terms, asset allocation is astrategy used to spread your assets among cash, stocks andbonds – not putting all of your eggs in one basket – to reduce your risk in any one market area. A choice of portfoliomodels do this by mixing and matching various funds and management styles together, like holding funds within a fund. If you think of a pie chartmade up of slices of different flavoured funds, the entire investment pie or portfolio may include seven funds or investment styles in one, blending stock, bond and shortterm funds for instance. Often investors in mutual fund wrap account programs will graduate to traditional wrap programs as their assets grow.
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