World’s 500 largest asset managers pass $100trn AuM bar
2019 has been a record year for the asset management industry. For the first time in the sector's history, the world’s 500 largest asset management companies exceeded the $100trn threshold in assets under management. They ended 2019 with a cumulated $104.4trn in assets under management, up 14.8% year-on-year, according to the top 500 managers' annual research of the Thinking Ahead Institute (Willis Towers Watson) and Pensions & Investments. That said, the AuM rise in 2019 was primarily stressed by Japan-based asset management companies (+24.9%) and by North American managers (+20.3%). European investment firms, including British ones, only posted a 5.3% AuM growth. Median assets for members of the top 500 amounted to $49.9bn in 2019, up from $45.5bn the year before.
The world's largest 20 investment firms, which featured 15 US and 5 European firms, welcomed two new members at the end of last year. Invesco (16th ) and Morgan Stanley (19th) came in, kicking out investment arms of French insurer Axa (10th in 2018, 21st in 2019) and Germany’s Deutsche Bank (13th in 2018, 27th in 2019). Goldman Sachs re-entered the top 10 again (9th), Capital Group was up two ranks to the seventh position while BNY Mellon and Amundi backed off one and two seats to the 8th and 10th positions respectively. The three largest asset managers in terms of AuM remained BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisors for the sixth consecutive year, followed by Fidelity Investments, Allianz and JP Morgan like in 2018. The top 20 asset managers ran 43% (or $44.9trn) of the assets recorded at the end of 2019 (vs. 38% in 2000 and 29% in 1995). A last trend spotted in the top 20 was the 30.1% asset growth of US managers while their European peers experienced a 17.8% drop over 2019.
Another point raised by the Thinking Ahead Institute in its report is the fast changing landscape of the asset management industry that has been much shaped by consolidation over the past ten years. Hence, the authors underlined that 232 names in their 2009 list of 500 largest asset managers were not in their 2019 list. Roger Urwin, co-founder of the Thinking Ahead Institute, said: “The investment industry has always been dynamic, but the pace of change is speeding up, manifested notably through consolidation. In addition, rapidly advancing technology is changing the shape of mandates and producing products that require less governance and are more streamlined. This has led to the growth of passive and index tracking, factor-based strategies and solutions. Private markets have also continued a significant growth trend in the last decade, during which investors have sought higher returns involving higher risk.”