After four years of stalled growth, the global asset-management industry has finally entered a recovery, but it promises to be a bumpy one for traditional managers of the industry’s largest asset pools.
Worldwide money managers' total assets under management reached a record $62.4 trillion in 2012, surpassing the $57.2 trillion set in 2007 before the 2008-2009 financial crisis, according to a Boston Consulting Group study released Tuesday.
Also, managers' operating margins rose to an average 37% of net revenues and profit increased to $80 billion, although it remained roughly 15% below pre-crisis highs, according to the annual study, “Global Asset Management 2013: Capitalizing on the Recovery.”
The growth in AUM was largely market driven, due to higher global equity and fixed-income returns, with net new asset flows accounting for less of the increase.
Net new flows were a modest 1.2% of global AUM last year. Most flows went to solutions-based managers such as those offering LDI and target-date funds; into strategies other than traditional domestic large-cap equities and domestic fixed income; and into passive strategies. A quarter of traditional managers actually experienced significant outflows from their actively managed core strategies in 2012.
U.S. managers' profits were above their European counterparts. While U.S. managers' 2012 profits rose 10% above pre-crisis levels, European managers' profits remained 31% below what they were before the crisis.