Global asset managers top $100 trillion for first time

Baillie Gifford, Edinburgh

Assets under management (AuM) at the world’s 500 largest asset managers exceeded $100 trillion for the first time in 2019, according to new research from the Thinking Ahead Institute.

The report said this represents an increase of 14.8% on the previous year when total AuM was $91.5 trillion and an almost three-fold increase from $35.2 trillion in 2000. 

Roger Urwin, co-founder of the Thinking Ahead Institute, said: “The investment industry has always been dynamic, but the pace of change is speeding up, manifested notably through consolidation.

“In addition, rapidly advancing technology is changing the shape of mandates and producing products that require less governance and are more streamlined.

“This has led to the growth of passive and index tracking, factors and solutions products.

“Private markets have also continued a significant growth trend in the last decade, during which investors have sought higher returns involving higher risk.”   

According to the research, passively managed assets in the survey grew to $7.9 trillion in 2019, up from $4.9 trillion in 2015.

Urwin said: “Most asset management processes — including investment, operating and decision-making — are also having to evolve.

“This is being driven by, in particular, asset owners seeking the streamlining benefits of outsourcing; the increased use of the Total Portfolio Approach, especially when targeting absolute return; and the use of index tracking in ETFs, where there is an active choice of the index.”