World's biggest fund managers control more money than the total wealth of Europe

 
Oliver Gill
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US fund managers dominated the global rankings (Source: Getty)

The world's 500 biggest fund managers now control over $80 trillion (£61 trillion) of money, according to research released today.

Total assets under management swelled by 5.8 per cent to $81.2 trillion by the end of 2016, according to Willis Towers Watson. This means the largest fund managers in the world control more money than the total wealth of Europe.

In fact, according to separate research by Credit Suisse, only one continent has greater total wealth than the assets controlled by the top 500 reported: North America, where the total wealth is $92.3 trillion.

Blackrock retains top spot in the Willis Towers Watson ranking, looking after $5.1 trillion of assets.

US-based fund managers dominate, occupying the top four positions and eight out of the top 10 slots.

Read more: BlackRock approaching $6 trillion as passive funds boost inflows

Europe

The biggest European fund manager is insurance behemoth Allianz, with $2.0 trillion. It sits in fifth place overall.

France's Axa is in eighth position with $1.5 trillion.

Only one UK fund manager makes the top 20. Legal & General sits in 16th place with $1.1 trillion of assets.

North American managers increased holdings by 7.7 per cent over the period and control $47.4 trillion of assets.

European managers, including the UK, increased by 2.8 per cent to $25.8 trillion. However, UK-based firms saw assets decline for the second consecutive year, falling by 4.5 per cent in 2016 to $6.3 trillion.

"While passive assets remain significantly smaller than actively managed assets, the proportion of passively managed assets has grown from 16.5 per cent to 21.6 per cent over the last five years alone," said Willis Towers Watson global head of manager research Luba Nikulina

We expect that this trend will continue to put downward pressure on traditional fee structures, particularly amongst active managers seeking to remain competitive and to maximise value to investors.

Read more: Fund managers are surprisingly optimistic about the global economy

Top 20 largest fund managers in the world

Rank Manager Country Total assets ($m)
1 Blackrock U.S. $5,147,852
2 Vanguard Group U.S. $3,965,018
3 State Street Global U.S. $2,468,456
4 Fidelity Investments U.S. $2,130,798
5 Allianz Group Germany $1,971,211
6 J.P. Morgan Chase U.S. $1,770,867
7 Bank of New York Mellon U.S. $1,647,990
8 AXA Group France $1,505,537
9 Capital Group U.S. $1,478,523
10 Goldman Sachs Group U.S. $1,379,000
11 Prudential Financial U.S. $1,263,765
12 BNP Paribas France $1,215,482
13 UBS Switzerland $1,208,275
14 Deutsche Bank Germany $1,190,523
15 Amundi France $1,141,000
16 Legal & General Group U.K. $1,099,919
17 Wellington Mgmt. U.S. $979,210
18 Northern Trust Asset Mgmt. U.S. $942,452
19 Wells Fargo U.S. $936,900
20 Nuveen U.S. $881,748

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