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Big asset managers getting bigger Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 October 2009

2008 was not a particularly good year for asset managers. According to a new survey, total assets under management of the top 500 managers topped $53 trillion at the end of the year - a

23 percent drop from the end of 2007. That marked the first yearly decrease in assets under management since 2002.

Despite the contraction, large asset managers continued to consolidate their positions. The top 20 managers in the survey, which was conducted by Pension & Investments and consultancy Watson Wyatt, saw their share of total assets increase from 37.5 in 2007 to 38.3 percent last year. And that’s up from 34 percent just ten years ago.

Meanwhile, smaller players got smaller. Indeed, total assets under management by the smallest 250 companies on the Watson Wyatt list fell to 5 percent -- well down from 7 percent in 1998.

Not surprisingly, U.S. money managers continued to cast a long shadow over the industry. The top American asset managers handled over half the worldwide assets of the top 20 in the 2008 ranking.

Banks dominated that group as well, controlling 55 percent of funds managed by the top 20 in 2008. The year before, banks in the top 20 controlled 45 percent of the assets managed by the group.

Indeed, banks apparently benefited from a flight to safety last year. The banks in the top 20 grabbed market share from independent managers, which saw their assets under management drop from to 30 percent from 35 percent in 2007, as well as insurers (down to 15 percent from 20 percent in 2007).

Once again, Barclays Global Investment topped the list, with $1.5 trillion in assets, trailed closely by Allianz Group and State Street.

The top ranking is sure to change next year, though, with a U.S. company taking over the No.1 spot. In June, BlackRock acquired Barclays Global Investment in a deal valued at $13.5 billion. The acquisition was the largest ever in the money-management business, creating an industry colossus with nearly $3 trillion in assets.

The BlackRock/Barclays deal further cements American domination of the industry. As you can see from the list below, U.S. companies were well represented in the top 20 in 2008.

1.  Barclays Global Investors (U.K)

2.  Allianz Group (German)

3.  State Street Global (U.S.)

4   Fidelity Investments (U.S.)

5.  AXA Group (France)

6.  BlackRock (U.S.)

7.  Deutsche Bank (Germany)

8.  Vanguard Group (U.S.)

9.  J.P. Morgan Chase (U.S.)

10. Capital Group (U.S.)

11. Bank of New York Mellon (U.S.)

12. UBS (Switzerland)

13. BNP Paribas (France)

14. Goldman Sachs Group (U.S.)

15. ING Group (Netherlands)

16. Credit Agricole (France)

17. HSBC Holdings (U.K.)

18. Legg Mason (U.S.)

19. Natixis (France)

20. Wells Fargo (U.S.)
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