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Assets of world’s largest fund managers jump by over 15% to nearly US$94 trillion

Assets managed by firms in Asia Pacific rose by 17%, higher than other regions


October 29, 2018

Total assets under management (AuM) of the world’s largest 500 managers grew to US$ 93.8 trillion in 2017, representing a rise of 15.6% on the previous year.

ASIA, 29 October 2018 – Total assets under management (AuM) of the world’s largest 500 managers grew to US$ 93.8 trillion in 2017, representing a rise of 15.6% on the previous year, according to the latest Global 500 research from Willis Towers Watson's Thinking Ahead Institute. In addition, the concentration of assets managed by the 20 largest managers reached the highest level since inception (in 2000), and now account for over 43% of the top 500 managers’ total AuM.

The research, which takes into account data up to the end of 2017, shows that AuM for Asia Pacific managers in the global ranking totalled US$8.1 trillion, up 17% on the year. The increases in AUM for managers in Europe (including U.K.) and North America were 15.8% and 15.1% respectively. The growth in assets managed by managers in Asia Pacific exceeded the growth rate of Europe, North America and the broader group of 500 firms.

Jayne Bok, Head of Investments, Asia Pacific said: “Asia, ex-Japan, equities experienced the best performance over 2017. The strong equity returns helped boost the growth in managers’ AuM with a higher exposure to Asia. Investors should consider diversifying sources of return in constructing a portfolio that can withstand a wide range of economic environments.”

Within Asia Pacific, Japan at US$4.5 trillion represents the largest share of the assets managed by managers domiciled in Asia Pacific, followed by Australia with US$1.3 trillion. Assets managed by mainland Chinese managers amounted to approximately US$1.1 trillion in 2017, which would rise to US$1.2 trillion if the AuM of four Hong Kong managers (US$135 billion) is included. There is a new entrant from Malaysia.

The research shows North America-based managers represent the majority of assets (58.1%), although their share fell slightly in 2017, the first fall since 2008. European managers represent 31.8% of assets managed (the UK being 7.4%), Japan 4.8% and the rest of the world 5.2%. Assets in each region grew in 2017. While the majority of total assets (77.6%) are still managed actively, the share of passive assets has grown from 19.5% to 22.4% in the last five years. In 2017 passive assets grew 25%.

BlackRock remains the largest asset manager in the rankings, a position it has held since 2008, and Vanguard and State Street complete the top three, for the fourth successive year.

Jayne noted: “Once again, total assets have increased and the rate of growth in 2017 is the biggest since 2009. The names at the top of the ranking are familiar names, with greater concentration in the biggest names. On the surface, the numbers might appear to tell a story of steady growth and of stability. But when you look at broader developments within and beyond the industry, there are signs that the industry is facing significant change.”

According to the research, more than four out of five (81%) managers surveyed reported an increase in client interest in sustainable investing, including voting, while nearly three quarters (74%) increased resources deployed to deal with technology and big data.

Jayne added: “There is a confluence of global megatrends – including technological, demographic, economic, environmental and social pressures – that are combining to create a period of potentially massive disruption for the industry. These trends have implications for every aspect of the asset manager’s structure. Successfully responding to these realties may prove to be as much a test of character and culture as it is a test of traditional business and investment skills. Culture can be difficult to preserve as a firm gs, but it is crucial as the bedrock on which a competitive advantage is sustained over the long-term.”

The world's largest money managers

Ranked by total assets under management, in U.S. millions, as of 31 Dec 2017

Rank Manager Country Total assets
1 BlackRock U.S. $6,288,195
2 Vanguard Group U.S. $4,940,350
3 State Street Global U.S. $2,781,693
4 Fidelity Investments U.S. $2,448,807
5 Allianz Group Germany $2,358,037
6 J.P. Morgan Chase U.S. $2,034,000
7 Bank of New York Mellon U.S. $1,892,941
8 Capital Group U.S. $1,778,134
9 AXA Group France $1,731,232
10 AMUNDI France $1,709,475
11 Goldman Sachs Group U.S. $1,494,000
12 Deutsche Bank Germany $1,453,321
13 BNP Paribas France $1,432,968
14 Prudential Financial U.S. $1,393,628
15 Legal & General Group U.K. $1,333,162
16 UBS Switzerland $1,254,401
17 Northern Trust Asset Mgmt U.S. $1,161,000
18 Wellington Mgmt. U.S. $1,080,307
19 Wells Fargo U.S. $1,040,900
20 Natixis Global Asset Mgmt France $997,849

Source: Pensions & Investments /Thinking Ahead Institute 500

The top 20 largest money managers domiciled in Asia Pacific

Ranked by total assets under management, in U.S. millions, as of 31 Dec 2017

Global Rank Manager Market Assets
29 Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Japan $791,467
37 Nippon Life Insurance Japan $701,396
39 Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Japan $663,782
46 Asset Management One Japan $520,400
57 Nomura Asset Mgmt. Japan $371,212
58 Macquarie Group Australia $368,912
62 Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance* Japan $327,188
63 Shinkin Central Bank* Japan $326,060
78 Sumitomo Life Insurance* Japan $256,320
90 Samsung Group South Korea $205,272
97 Colonial First State Australia $170,829
98 Resona Holdings Japan $170,813
109 China Asset Mgmt. China $153,023
110 NAB Asset Mgmt.** Australia $152,900
111 Harvest Fund Mgmt. China $151,807
146 Mirae Asset Financial Group South Korea $97,013
158 Hanwha Group South Korea $86,769
159 Pacific Century Group Hong Kong $85,300
160 China Universal Asset Mgmt. China $84,261
166 IFM Investors Australia $78,781

Source: Pensions & Investments /Thinking Ahead Institute 500

* As of 31 March 2017
** As of 30 September 2017
Note: Information on asset managers in China was sourced from the available data from AMAC and survey responses

Distribution of assets by market in Asia Pacific

Ranked by total assets under management in U.S. millions, as of 31 Dec 2017

Market Number of managers in the global ranking Assets Share of the global 500
Japan 18 $4,516,999 4.81%
Australia 22 $1,309,879 1.40%
Mainland China 20 $1,093,674 1.17%
South Korea 21 $776,974 0.83%
India 8 $241,377 0.26%
Hong Kong 4 $135,033 0.14%
Malaysia 1 $9,848 0.01%
TOTAL 94 $8,083,784 8.62%

Source: Pensions & Investments /Thinking Ahead Institute 500

About the Thinking Ahead Institute

The Thinking Ahead Institute is a global not-for-profit member organisation whose aim is to influence change in the investment world for the benefit of savers. The Institute’s members comprise asset owners, investment managers and other groups that are motivated to influence the industry for the good of savers worldwide. It has 45 members with combined responsibility for over US$12 trillion and is an outgrowth of Willis Towers Watson Investments’ Thinking Ahead Group.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has over 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance.

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