ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 31, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Assets managed by the world’s largest 500 asset managers fell in 2015 for the first time since 2011, according to research conducted by Pensions & Investments (P&I), a prominent U.S. investment newspaper, and Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. Total assets under management (AUM) were down 1.7% to $76.7 trillion at the end of 2015, compared to $78.1 trillion the year before.
According to the research, North American firms’ AUM were $44 trillion at the end of 2015, a decrease of 1.1% from the previous year, while assets managed by European managers, including the U.K., decreased by 3.3%, to $25.1 trillion. U.K.-based firms’ assets decreased 2%, reducing their AUM to $6.6 trillion.
“The decline in global assets demonstrates the impact of the challenging investment landscape and currency fluctuations on asset managers across the globe,” said Brad Morrow, head of manager research, North America, Willis Towers Watson. “At the same time, asset owners are rethinking their business models by internalizing asset management capabilities at the larger end of the spectrum and consolidating at the smaller and midsize end, which has an impact on capital flows to the industry. This will continue to put pressure on revenues and require asset managers to further adapt to this challenging environment.”
The research reveals that actively managed assets, which continue to make up the majority of total assets* (78.3%), also fell 2.8% in 2015, while passive assets declined at a faster rate, 5.5% during the year.
Although the top 20 managers experienced a 1% decrease in assets from $32.5 trillion to $32.1 trillion, their share of total assets increased slightly from 41.6% to 41.9%.
The research shows that traditional equity and fixed income still make up the majority of all assets* (78.2%: 45.4% equity/32.8% fixed income), but they declined by 7.1% during 2015. The only standout category in terms of growth in 2015 is alternative assets, which grew by 25.1%.
“The increase in alternative assets shows that in an environment of low returns and increased uncertainty, investors are under pressure to identify other means of achieving more diversity and higher returns,” said Morrow. “This shift in strategy is both welcome and essential if the investment industry is to adapt to meet its current and future challenges. However, the world of alternatives is more complex than traditional bonds and equities, so investors must focus on skill, holistic risk management and best-in-class implementation.”
The research also reveals that in the past 10 years, the proportion of asset managers from the U.S. in the top 500 has increased significantly, from 41.9% to 52.5%. Within the top 20 in 2015, there were 12 U.S. managers, accounting for 69% of assets (up from 11 managers and 65.5% of the assets at the end of 2014). The remaining assets were managed by European firms.
Assets of the U.S. top 20 companies in 2015 increased 1.2% to over $22 trillion in 2015, while assets of European top 20 companies decreased 3.3% to just under $10 trillion in the same period.
Some of the main gainers by rank in the top 50 (including through mergers or acquisitions) during the past five years include Aegon Group (+38 [63→25]), New York Life Investments (+28 [67→39]), Dimensional Fund Advisors (+25 [74→49]), Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings (+22 [55→33]) and Standard Life (+21 [71→50]).
The world's largest money managers
Ranked by total AUM, in USD millions, as of Dec. 31, 2015
|3||State Street Global||U.S.||$||2,244,816|
|7||Bank of New York Mellon||U.S.||$||1,624,654|
|10||Goldman Sachs Group||U.S.||$||1,252,000|
|15||Legal & General Group||U.K.||$||1,106,077|
|20||Northern Trust Asset Management||U.S.||$||875,300|
Source: P&I/Willis Towers Watson World 500
About Willis Towers Watson Investment
Willis Towers Watson’s Investment business is focused on creating financial value for institutional investors through its expertise in risk assessment, strategic asset allocation, fiduciary management and investment manager selection. It has over 900 associates worldwide, assets under advisory of over $2.3 trillion and over $75 billion of AUM.
About Willis Towers Watson
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.
*Based on a subset of asset managers in the 2015 ranking, which have provided more granular detail since 2011
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Source:Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company