Eleven asset managers had more than $1 trillion (€760 billion) in assets at the end of 2012, up from nine at the end of 2011, according to new research.
Four companies had in excess of $2 trillion, says the report by research firm Cerulli Associates. These were BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, with $3.8 trillion under management, State Street Global Advisors, with $2.1 trillion, and Vanguard and Pimco, which each had $2 trillion.
Together, the top 50 asset managers controlled $38 trillion at the end of 2012, an increase of $4 trillion on the previous year.
Part of the growth was caused by positive market movements, but Cerulli says the results also reflect increased consolidation in the industry.
The financial crisis of 2008 was a spur to consolidation, says the report, because it made clients more concerned to put their money with big, well capitalised managers with well-established brand names.
However, Shiv Taneja, managing director for international research, says concentration of assets among the big players is a mixed blessing.
“Big firms can do many good, and not so good, things.
Regulators have a huge role to play here, and in their desire to boost investor protection (a good thing) should ensure they do not make it tough on smaller firms.”
The report also examined concentration of assets at a country level and found that in six out of ten selected countries, the top ten asset managers in the market controlled more than 70% of retail assets. The concentration was even more pronounced for pension assets; in seven out of ten countries, the top ten players controlled more than 70% of pensions assets.
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