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APAC asset growth outpaces rest of the world

Assets managed by the world’s largest 500 fund managers increased by 15.6% to $93.8trn globally in 2017, their fastest rate of growth since 2009, according to Willis Towers Watson.

In Asia-Pacific, assets grew 17% to $8.1trn, higher than the rates seen for assets managed by firms in Europe (including the UK), at 15.8%, and in North America, at 15.1%.

Within Asia-Pacific, the report found that Japan accounts for the largest share of assets, with $4.5trn, followed by Australia, with $1.3trn. In China, mainland fund managers had $1.1trn in AUM, while Hong Kong managers had $135bn.

“Asia (ex-Japan) equities experienced the best performance over 2017,” Jayne Bok, Willis Towers Watson’s head of investments for Asia-Pacific, said in a statement.

“The strong equity returns helped boost the growth in managers’ AUM with a higher exposure to Asia,” she added.

Globally, North America-based managers continue to represent the majority of the global fund industry, accounting for 58.1% of assets. That is followed by European managers (31.8%, including the UK’s 7.4% share), Japan (4.8%) and the rest of the world (5.2%).

Market share by country

Source: Willis Towers Watson

Actively-managed assets continue to dominate the landscape globally, accounting for 77.6% of total AUM. However, the share of passive assets has grown to 22.4% from 19.5% in the last five years. In 2017, the amount of passive assets grew by 25%, the report noted.

Largest managers

Blackrock retains its decade-long supremacy as the largest asset manager globally, with $6.3trn in AUM. Vanguard and State Street complete the top three for the fourth successive year (see table below).

“The names at the top of the ranking are familiar names, with greater concentration in the biggest names,” Bok said.

“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.”

The report noted that at least 80% of the 500 fund managers surveyed reported an increase in client interest in sustainable investing. Assets allocated to ESG principles also grew 10.7% during the year.

Source: Willis Towers Watson

More managers are also allocating assets to factor-based strategies, with assets growing by 14.5% during the year, the report added.

World’s top 50 asset managers by AUM ($m)

Source: Willis Towers Watson





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