Global AuM falls for first time since 2011

The net assets managed by the world’s top 500 largest asset managers have declined for the first time in five years, with European firms hardest hit.

According to the Willis Towers Watson World 500 ranking of asset managers, global assets under management declined by 1.7% last year. In the US, assets fell by 1.1% to $76.7 trillion (€69.6 trillion) year-on-year, while in Europe assets decreased by 3.3% to $25.1 trillion.

On a national level, UK-domiciled firms saw smaller decreases than other jurisdictions, with assets falling 2% to $6.6 trillion.

The figures show the market remains heavily concentrated, with the biggest 20 firms seeing their assets increase slightly from 41.6% to 41.9% of the market overall, although this group also saw a 1% decrease in assets (from $32.5 trillion to $32.1 trillion).

Luba Nikulina, global head of manager research at Willis Towers Watson, said the decline demonstrates how challenging the investment landscape and currency fluctuations have weighed on asset managers.

“Asset owners are rethinking their business models by internalising asset management capabilities at the larger end of the spectrum and consolidating at the smaller and mid-size end, which also has an impact on capital flows to the industry.  This trend will continue to put pressure on revenues and require asset managers to further adapt to this challenging and continuously changing environment,” she adds.

The research also revealed that actively managed assets, which continue to make up the majority of total assets under management, fell by 2.8% last year to 78.3%. Passive assets also suffered, to an even greater degree than active, falling by 5.5%.

Elsewhere, the data demonstrates traditional equity and fixed income funds still rule the roost in respect of assets, holding a 78.2% share of assets under management overall (45.4% equity, 32.8% fixed income), but this figure declined by 7.1% during 2015. Alternative assets grew by 25.1% over the same period.

©2016 fund europe

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