The 250 largest money managers in Pensions & Investments' latest annual survey reported $36.7 trillion in worldwide assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2009 — a welcome 18% rebound from the prior year's acute declines.
Overall, worldwide assets under management reported by the 710 managers in P&I's survey totaled $37.997 trillion; up 17.6% from the $32.316 trillion reported by 738 managers a year earlier.
Buoyed by global equity benchmark gains of 35%, and strong inflows for fixed-income, passive and exchange-traded fund strategies, the ranks of bulge-bracket managers with $1 trillion or more swelled to eight from six the year before. That matched the previous record tally of eight for 2007.
Pacific Investment Management Co. became that club's newest member, with just more than $1 trillion at the end of 2009.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based bond giant's 40% surge in AUM marked the fastest pace of growth among the top 10 managers — lifting the firm to the eighth spot in the rankings from 10th the year before.
With efforts to reduce risk a central theme last year following the violent market swings of late 2008 and early 2009, firms focused on fixed-income and passive strategies have emerged as some of the strongest asset gatherers, noted Dev Clifford, a consultant with Stamford, Conn.-based money manager consultant Greenwich Associates LLC.
Douglas Hodge, PIMCO's chief operating officer, said his firm benefited from making prescient — and public — calls on the housing bubble and volatility, leaving PIMCO well placed to benefit amid “unprecedented” moves by investors into fixed-income strategies in the past 12 to 18 months.
The move to passive — particularly through the “new betas” provided by the growing array of exchange-traded funds — was another secular trend that should continue to benefit money managers that offer ETFs, predicted Kevin Quirk, a founding partner and principal with money manager consulting firm Casey, Quirk & Associates LLC, Darien, Conn.
According to P&I's latest survey, ETF assets surged 45% in the 12 months through Dec. 31, 2009, to $853.1 billion.
Boston-based State Street Global Advisors, a leading provider of passive strategies, including ETFs, retained second place in the latest rankings with a strong 32% gain in assets to $1.9 trillion.
BlackRock Inc., meanwhile, catapulted to first place from fourth by acquiring the top manager in the year-earlier ranking, Barclays Global Investors. The industry giant's $3.35 trillion in AUM marked an 18% rise from the combined total of BGI's $1.53 trillion and BlackRock's $1.31 trillion as of December 2008.