GLOBAL, Monday 17 October 2022 – Assets under management (AuM) at the world’s 500 largest asset managers reached a new record of over US$131 trillion in 2021, according to new research from the Thinking Ahead Institute. This is an increase of over 10% on the previous year, when assets had grown by 14.5% to over US$119 trillion.
The research, conducted in conjunction with Pensions & Investments, a leading U.S. investment newspaper, also shows further concentration of assets managed by the very largest organisations. The world’s top 20 asset managers are now responsible for over US$59 trillion of assets, having grown at an above-average annual rate of 13%.
The research shows that BlackRock is both the world’s largest asset manager and the first to exceed US$10 trillion. While the Vanguard Group is ranked second (breaking the US$8 trillion mark), it is significantly ahead of Fidelity Investments and State Street Global – ranked third and fourth respectively – each with around US$4 trillion.
The dominance of US managers are increasingly apparent at the top of the rankings, which now account for 15 out of the 20 largest firms and around 82% of these assets. This share is now boosted by US managers Invesco and Wellington Management joining the top 20. More broadly, as a result of consolidation and competition, 218 manager names which featured in the ranking ten years ago are now absent.
According to the research, passively managed funds grew by 12.1% during the year, faster than actively managed assets which grew at 9.5%, and now account for over 29% of assets – a record high. It also shows that equity and fixed income continued to make up the majority of assets, split by 46.5% and 33.9% respectively. In addition, cash makes up 6.6%, alternatives 5.9% and other strategies 7.1%, these include liability-driven investment (LDI) and other specialist solutions.
Marisa Hall, co-head of the Thinking Ahead Institute, comments: “Investment managers are facing a combination of long-term headwinds from macro-economic, geopolitical and climate risks – but are also spurred on by the driving factors of technology and industry innovation. This is a story of dark clouds on the horizon, potentially matched by a powerful engine room of innovation.
“Consolidation is an obvious symptom of a changing investment industry, but bigger is not always better. Specialism is still sought after with genuine boutiques and smaller global managers proving that standing out for the right reasons can be as strong a business model as offering standardisation.
“Asset managers are adapting as organisations and we’re seeing competitive pressures manifest in a reassessment of the skills and structures that drive success. For example, healthy scrutiny of sustainability claims is leading to enormous demand for climate and environmental specialists. Meanwhile, modern expectations for digital client service and a need for rigorous data-led investment processes are separately driving total re-evaluations of operational technology. These trends mean we’re not just seeing a shift in the rankings – but also a shift in what it means to be a successful asset manager.”
Additional research findings, from a subset of managers in the ranking:
- Assets allocated to ESG principles increased by over 4 percentage points to reach over 60% of assets
- Allocations to LDI strategies slowed marginally to 13.9% of total assets invested in LDI strategies, from 14.2% a year before
- A majority (56%) of managers increased the number of women, and those of other protected minority groups, in high positions
- Technology and big data received additional resources among a strong majority (76%) of managers, while a similar 75% boosted their resources focused on cybersecurity
- Product offerings are still expanding – with 72% increasing the number of investment products they offer to clients
- Aggregate investment management fee levels decreased for a third (29%) and increased for 13% of managers.
The world’s largest money managers
Ranked by total AuM, in U.S. millions.
|Rank||Fund||Market||Total Assets (US$)|
|4.||State Street Global||U.S.||$4,138,172|
|5.||J.P. Morgan Chase||U.S.||$3,113,000|
|8.||Goldman Sachs Group||U.S.||$2,470,000|
|12.||Legal & General Group||U.K.||$1,917,486|
|14.||T. Rowe Price Group||U.S.||$1,687,800|
|18.||Morgan Stanley Inv. Mgmt.||U.S.||$1,492,849|
About the Thinking Ahead Institute
The Thinking Ahead Institute was established in January 2015 and is a global not-for-profit investment research and innovation member group made up of engaged institutional asset owners and service providers committed to changing and improving the investment industry for the benefit of the end saver. It has over 55 members around the world and is an outgrowth of WTW Investments’ Thinking Ahead Group, which was set up in 2002.
At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.
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