The number of mergers and acquisitions globally in the asset management industry in the first six months of this year jumped 22% from the same period in 2009, led by a surge in alternative-related deals, according to a report Monday by Freeman & Co.
Absent the blockbuster deals of the prior year, however, the amount of assets under management involved in the latest half was a fraction of the year-earlier period.
Overall, Freeman tallied 105 deals for the period, compared to 87 for the first half of 2009. There were 52 first-half deals involving alternative managers, more than double the 25 deals for the year-earlier period.
Deals involving traditional asset managers in the first half, meanwhile, totaled 31, down 30% from the year before, while “other” deals, involving firms such as private banks or financial planners with more of a distribution focus, rose 69% to 22.
The latest deals involved combined assets under management of $417 billion, down sharply from $2.7 trillion for the year-earlier half when a handful of hefty deals, led by BlackRock’s agreement to purchase BGI’s $1.5 trillion in assets, were announced.
In a telephone interview, Eric Weber, a managing director and COO of Freeman, noted that the “pop” in alternatives-related deals during the first half could leave them, for the first time, outpacing the number of traditional deals for the full calendar year.
Major regulatory initiatives, including the so-called Volcker Rule, may well be contributing to the spate of alternatives-related deal activity this year, but consolidation in that segment should also be seen as a sign of the industry’s continued maturation, Mr. Weber said.