Assets bounce back in 2009

ASSETS under management (AUM) at the world’s largest 500 fund managers jumped by 16 per cent in 2009 to $62 trillion (£39 trillion), the second highest rise on record, a report said yesterday.

The rise was in sharp contrast to the 23 per cent loss in AUM seen in 2008, the Pensions and Investments/ Towers Watson World 500 ranking report said.

However, total AUM were still well below the previous high seen in 2006. During the past five years only half of the fastest growing firms had done so in a primarily organic way, with the other half doing so by merger or acquisition, the report said.

Carl Hess, global head of investment at Towers Watson, said last year was “almost the exact opposite of 2008” as most fund managers posted strong results. But he warned that while markets were recovering they remained fragile, reflecting “weak underlying economic fundamentals and the oscillating risk appetites among institutional investors”.

Fund managers from developing countries continued to grow, more than doubling their share of global AUM to around four per cent in the last decade, the report said. In contrast Japanese fund managers’ share of AUM fell from over 13 per cent to under 7 per cent in the same period.

Some fund managers have seen exceptional growth in the last five years, including BlackRock, which has risen from 41st in the league table to top with $3.4bn AUM. BNP Paribas has risen 26 places to seventh in the last five years with $1.3bn AUM,

There were 12 US-based investment managers in the top 20 last year, up from ten in 2008, while the other eight managers are all based in Europe, according to the report.