Biggest managers’ global assets hit $68trn

The world’s 500 biggest fund managers saw their assets rise by more than 8% in 2012, to $68trn, according to data published by the Pensions & Investments/Towers Watson World 500 report.

The gain recorded by the research suggests total assets are now almost back to 2007 levels – $69trn – and are about twice levels seen in 2002.

Managers owned by banks continue to dominate the top 20, while the number of independent managers remained static.

Twelve of the top 20 are US based managers, while eight are based in Euorpe. Japanese managers saw their collective assets decline by about 9% in 2012, although European and US managers saw their assets increase by more than 8% and 13% respectively through the year.

Despite these positive outcomes, Craig Baker, global head of research at Towers Watson Investment, sounded a warning to investors, saying that they should not abandon efforts to ensure the charges applied by managers are not just the result of market improvements.

“In addition, investors should not stop looking at lower-cost options, particularly if they have limited governance,” Baker added.

The research has found that US managers have increased their share of assets from 42% to about 50% over the past decade – mostly at the expense of Japanese and Swiss manager. Canadian and French managers have also grown through the period.

Passive assets managed by the biggest managers have grown by 13% annually.

Baker said this reflected moves by institutional investors to find more efficient ways to invest their assets, boosting interest in areas such as ‘smart beta’.


The world’s largest money managers
Ranked by total assets under management, in $m, as of Dec. 31, 2012
Rank Manager Country Total assets ($m)
1. BlackRock US $3,791,588
2. Allianz Group Germany $2,447,820
3. Vanguard Group US $2,215,216
4. State Street Global US $2,086,200
5. Fidelity Investments US $1,888,296
6. AXA Group France $1,474,568
7. J.P. Morgan Chase US $1,431,165
8. Bank of New York Mellon US $1,385,863
9. BNP Paribas France $1,303,989
10. Deutsche Bank Germany $1,247,477
11. Capital Group US $1,147,411
12. Prudential Financial US $1,060,250
13. UBS Switzerland $999,758
14. Amundi Asset Mgmt. France $961,245
15. HSBC Holdings UK $910,000
16. Goldman Sachs Group US $854,000
17. Franklin Templeton US $781,769
18. Natixis France $779,317
19. Northern Trust Global US $758,943
20. Wellington Mgmt. US $757,729


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