Veteran asset managers see consolidation

A QUARTET of top names in the asset management industry have predicted a period of consolidation, coupled with simplification and heightened scrutiny of the financial products they offer.<br /><br />Martin Gilbert, who heads Aberdeen Asset Management, said he expected there to be &ldquo;fewer asset managers in three years than there are today&rdquo;.<br /><br />&ldquo;Firms today can be split into two distinct camps &ndash; consolidators and those that are likely to be consolidated,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />His own firm added to its stable at the end of 2008 with the acquisition of Credit Suisse&rsquo;s UK asset management arm in a &pound;250m all-share deal.<br /><br />Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the US asset manager that bought Barclays Global Investors earlier this year, agreed that consolidation was likely.<br /><br />&ldquo;Investors are increasingly looking to globally integrated firms&hellip;and as scale becomes paramount, there will be further consolidation,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Andrew Formica, chief executive of Henderson Group, which bought fellow asset manager New Star for &pound;115m this year, said the industry would also be subjected to more detailed examination.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are going to experience greater scrutiny &ndash; both by clients and by regulators,&rdquo; he said. He added that the products offered by asset managers would be simpler in the future.<br /><br />Alain Grisay, who heads F&amp;C Asset Management said: &ldquo;The responsibility of distributors has been highlighted and therefore we are seeing demand for simpler, more transparent products.&rdquo;