Continuing Growth, Prevailing Approaches and Recent Trends in the Use of Separately Managed Accounts for Illiquid Strategies

Separately managed accounts and investment management agreements (collectively, SMAs) are an established and proven structure in the private markets. Long a prominent feature of the hedge fund world, SMAs have also become a staple feature of fundraising in the PE and private credit asset classes, growing in tandem with the exponential expansion of those alternative asset classes throughout the years. Notably, that growth has not abated with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and if anything, the demands of the moment have highlighted the merits of SMAs. The fundamental flexibility and customizable aspects of SMAs have allowed them to adapt to meet an evolving array of manager and investor needs and broader fundraising trends. In a guest article, Kirkland & Ellis partner Kate Luarasi provides an overview of the main features of SMAs and different contexts for when the two most common SMA structures – funds of one and investment management agreements – are used by investors and managers. In addition, the article also highlights the latest market trends in select SMA terms, focusing on illiquid investment strategies such as private credit, distressed and special situations. See “Panel Discusses Operational and Tax Challenges of Hybrid Funds” (Nov. 5, 2019); and “Structuring Managed Accounts Key Focus of GlobeOp’s ‘Managed Accounts Insights for Investors’ Event” (Oct. 1, 2009).

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