AUM of the top 500 close to pre-crisis peak

Global payThe sum managed by the world's top 500 asset managers grew 8% last year to reach $68 trillion (€51 trillion), almost meeting the pre-financial crisis record level seen in 2007, and almost double assets in 2002.

The research by consultancy Towers Watson found that US managers continue to dominate the league table. Twelve of the top 20 managers are based in the US and together they control 64% of assets of the top 20.

In the past ten years, US managers have increased their share of overall assets in the research from 42% to 50%, mainly at the expense of Japanese and Swiss asset managers, says Towers Watson.

BlackRock maintained its lead as the world's largest asset manager, according to the research. It had nearly $3.8 trillion under management at the end of 2012, followed by Allianz with $2.4 trillion and Vanguard with $2.2 trillion.

Craig Baker, global head of research at Towers Watson Investment, says the good performance should not deter investors from seeking the best deal from their money managers.

“While we are all pleased to see asset growth back and in many instances good returns for investors, it is imperative that the pressure on asset managers, and other agents in the investment industry, to produce better aligned fee structures does not dissipate, particularly in the area of performance-related fees,” he says.

“In addition, investors should not stop looking at lower-cost options, particularly if they have limited governance, while ensuring they are not overpaying for market returns.”

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