Last updated: 00:21 / Friday, 10 July 2015
Scorpio Partnership report

Top 10 Dominate Market Share in the Wealth Industry as UBS and Morgan Stanley Pass USD2trn AUM Hurdle

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Top 10 Dominate Market Share in the Wealth Industry as UBS and Morgan Stanley Pass USD2trn AUM Hurdle
  • The global industry now manages USD20.6 trillion in investable assets on behalf of high net worth investors; The top 10 global operators in AUM terms collectively manage 47.1% of the market
  • The US remains the largest market of opportunity for HNW business. Equally, the scale of the market opportunity is also reflected in the strong growth in AUM posted by US operators
  • AUM for the over 200 industry players annually assessed moved upward by an average 3.4% and operating profits also improved by an average of 3.3%
  • “The good news is client volumes and demand for wealth services are strengthening for many. But the bad news is the industry is still tackling major compression factors in terms of costs versus income"

The global wealth management industry had a solid business year in 2014 in terms of financial results for the operating model. In spite of financial market uncertainties and currency volatility most lead players experienced overall growth in client volumes. However, the latest KPI growth rates came off the higher ratios in the previous reporting year. The financial year also heralded a landmark breakthrough for two operators – UBS and Morgan Stanley – as their assets under management (AUM) figures surged beyond USD2 trillion (Figure 1).

According to The Global Private Banking Benchmark 2015 released from Scorpio Partnership, AUM for the over 200 industry players annually assessed moved upward by an average 3.4% and operating profits also improved by an average of 3.3%. However, these solid figures are tempered by continued pressure on the operating efficiency measured by cost-income ratios. In the latest report the industry average rose 90 basis points to 84.4% (Figure 2).

“This is a complex moment in the history of our industry. The operating model is facing major growing pains to accomodate the expectations of financial groups for wealth management divisions to deliver sustained high margin results. The good news is client volumes and demand for wealth services are strengthening for many. But the bad news is the industry is still tackling major compression factors in terms of costs versus income. Some are not moving quickly enough with rates of growth slowing,” said Sebastian Dovey, managing partner of Scorpio Partnership.

Based on analysis of reported financials from over 200 wealth management business lines across the globe, this year’s worldwide ranking saw few changes among the top cohort. Aside from UBS and Morgan Stanley breaking through the USD2trn barrier, the majority of the market leaders remained in stasis.

A number of firms – mostly headquartered in Europe – have been adversely affected by the currency performance of the Euro. The most notable step change was posted for BMO Financial Group based on an effective acquisition strategy during the year in review. Meanwhile, based on growth projections it is likely that Bank of America Merrill Lynch will pass the USD2trn hurdle in the coming 12 months.

“Looking ahead, in the intensively competitive market it will be the details that make the margin of difference. The winners will be those that pay the most detailed attention to the optimised commercialisation of the client journey and benchmarking this among peers. Aside from the annual benchmarking, our unique collation of HNW and UHNW client satisfaction ratings of firms identifies who is leading in this context,” added Scorpio Partnership’s Dovey.

Market share of wealth assets dominated by a select few

Now in its 14th year, the influential annual Scorpio Partnership Private Banking Benchmark, estimates that the global industry now manages USD20.6 trillion in investable assets on behalf of high net worth investors. Amid this total industry AUM data point, the market share concentration among the largest houses is significant. The top 10 global operators in AUM terms collectively manage 47.1% of the market (Figure 3). UBS holds a 9.9% industry share.

The US operators continue to dominate the market share ratios driven largely by their domestic franchises. According to various industry estimates the US remains the largest market of opportunity for HNW business. Equally, the scale of the market opportunity is also reflected in the strong growth in AUM posted by US operators. The 10 leading firms are registering an average AUM growth ratio of 7.1% – over twice the global average (Figure 4).

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