Following the 2008 financial crisis, hedge fund investors expressed concerns relating to a lack of liquidity, transparency and control in investing in comingled funds. This led to an increase in the popularity of separately managed accounts, which address these concerns while allowing investors to access the investment acumen of talented hedge fund managers. Capitalizing on the popularity of managed accounts, financial institution sponsors have built managed account platforms that provide investors with access to a variety of managers. The platform sponsor vets participating managers, serves as a gatekeeper of the platform and provides other services. These managed account platforms have grown in popularity, particularly with institutional investors. As such, many hedge fund managers have considered joining such platforms as a route to increased assets under management and visibility in the institutional investor community. This is the first article in a two-part series designed to describe what managed account platforms are and to highlight the various considerations that hedge fund managers should evaluate in determining whether to offer their services through such platforms. This first article surveys managed account platforms, including describing the various structures for managed account platforms; the evolution of managed account platforms; and the process for adding a hedge fund manager to a managed account platform. The second article in the series will discuss why investors find managed account platforms attractive as a method for allocating capital; considerations for hedge fund managers evaluating whether to offer their services through a managed account platform; how managers should consider which platforms to join; and certain key issues to negotiate with a platform sponsor.